This marl and limestone hill, elevation 1,915 feet, was an Indian signal point, advancing news of the intrusions of white settlers. The hill was first recorded and described by the German geologist, Dr. Ferdinand Roemer in 1847. A timber cross found on the hilltop the same year suggests that Spanish missionaries recognized it as a landmark on the path from San Antonio to Mission San Saba. John Christian Durst (1825-1898), arriving with his family in 1847 from Germany, received a town lot and 10 acres of land, including this hill. On finding the cross, he named it "Kreuzberg," or Cross Mountain. The Easter fires on Cross Mountain and the surrounding hills recall a German tradition of burning the old growth to make way for the new, and also commemorate the 1847 treaty made by John O. Meusebach and the settlers to establish peace with the Comanche nation.
In 1849, a Bohemian priest, Father George Menzel, erected a more substantial cross as a symbol of redemption and civilization. Easter Sunrise Services were held on the mountain for many years prior to 1941. In 1946 the Very Rev. F. X. Wolf threw the switch to illuminate the permanent cross of metal and concrete built by St. Mary's Catholic Church.