Apelt Armadillo Farm

Apelt Armadillo Farm (HM23NP)

Location: Comfort, TX 78013 Kerr County
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Country: United States of America
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N 29° 56.737', W 98° 56.582'

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In the late 1890s, Charles Apelt (1862-1944) opened a unique commercial enterprise at this site.
Apelt, a German immigrant, came to Comfort in 1887 and worked as a farmer. Here he encountered the armadillo, an animal native to the Americas, and began to develop a commercial use for the mammal's hard shell. Utilizing the nine-banded variety (Dasypus Novemcinctus) he soon opened the Armadillo Basket Factory.

The novelty armadillo basket was a quick success; within its first six years of operation, the Armadillo factory shipped 40,000 orders throughout the U.S. and the world. In 1904, Apelt displayed his product at the St. Louis World's Fair, and by the 1920s, the operation employed dozens of local hunters. At its height, the establishment produced about 100 baskets each week, which sold for $2.50 each or $15 if decorated with silk, bows and beads. Apelt found additional functions for armadillo shells, using them for floor and table lamps, desk sets and smoking stands. Some armadillos were captured live and sold to zoos, pet owners and research facilities; Apelt constructed an elaborate network of concrete burrows and tunnels in front of his home to meet the high demand for armadillos in medical research.

Charles Apelt ran the farm until he died in 1944. His wife, Martha, continued to run the business,

which closed when she died in 1947. The farm reopened in 1951 before again closing in 1971. During its years of operation, the farm was a significant source of employment in the area. Although it is no longer in operation, Apelt Armadillo Farm continues to be remembered for its production of distinctive and famed souvenirs.
HM NumberHM23NP
Year Placed2009
Placed ByTexas Historical Commission
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, December 11th, 2017 at 1:01pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)14R E 505497 N 3312760
Decimal Degrees29.94561667, -98.94303333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 29° 56.737', W 98° 56.582'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds29° 56' 44.22" N, 98° 56' 34.92" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)830
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 48 Main Hwy, Comfort TX 78013, US
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