In 1870, seventeen years after the Army decommissioned and abandoned Fort Martin Scott, Johann Wolfgang Braeutigam bought the 640 acre property from John Twohig for $1,650. With several of the original buildings in decline, Braeutigam set about transforming the old fort into his family homestead.
The Braeutigam family moved into the post's original guardhouse. From salvaged bits of other buildings, they added more rooms as well as front and back porches. Additionally, they hand-dug a well, lined with limestone, and planted trees, shrubs, and grapes. Later, they built a saloon across the old parade ground near the road leading into Fredericksburg. The Braeutigams also built the first dancehall in the county, and made oval tracks for horse races. The first Gillespie County Fair was held in 1881 at what the locals called Braeutigam's Garten.
Tragedy struck in September, 1884, when thieves attempted to rob the saloon. Johann W. Braeutigam resisted and was murdered by the robbers. The family closed the saloon and the remaining children sold their interest in the place to Henry, the youngest son. The property stayed in the Braeutigam family until the City of Fredericksburg purchased the land in 1959.