Owners & Operators over the past 100 years: Selma Schwartz, Otto Johle, Max Bathe, Jim & Annie Werchan, Amy Bathe Scott, Roger & Lee Ann Chambers, Brian Shirley, George Higgins, Allison Krause Crowson
The building was built in 1922 by Selma Schwartz, a German immigrant who came to America at age 22. Her sons, Walter and Hugo, operated it as Schwartz & Schwartz General Merchandise. Ms. Schwartz was also the first telephone operator for the Burton Telephone Company when it organized in 1910, and she held that position for 30 years.
Sold January 29, 1945 to Otto Johle. It was kept in the family until 1954 when Garfield and Thelma Johle sold it to Max Bathe.
M.H. Max Bathe, had a sister Annie Bathe, and a brother, Herbert Bathe. Herbert was Justice of the Peace from 1965 until 1990, and was appointed City Judge in 1972, a position he held until March of 1984. The Justice of the Peace office during that time was an addition to the left side of the White Horse Café, and included a back room where Judge Bathe could sleep. It was removed when the café was remodeled in 1983. When Judge Bathe retired, the Glenwood Hugo Schwartz, grandson of Selma Schwartz, became the active judge. Interestingly, the old Texaco office, owned by Nelson Felder of Felder’s Texaco, was bought for $500 and moved (by Roger Chambers) to the almost exact location as Judge Bathe’s office. It now serves as the office of the Precinct 4 JP of Washington County, right next to the White Horse Tavern, where it originated.
Sold again in 1954 to Edward (Jim) and Annie Werchan. Annie operated the White Horse Café from 1954 to 1974, and owned the building until February 22, 2005. She served a variety of food and cold drinks, and had a pool table and shuffleboard for entertainment. She married Harvey F. Boehnemann sometime after Jim died in 1961.
Sold February 22, 2005, to Amy Bathe Scott.
Bought from the Bathe Estate on November 2, 2006, by Roger and Lee Ann Chambers who began restoration for its use as offices for Market Realty and Rita’s Antiques. Roger started Market Realty and became a Broker Associate, General Certified Appraiser, Auctioneer, and Property Tax Consultant.
Roger and Tommy Avis opened the White Horse Tavern in 2010. They mainly sold only cold drinks, with some food. Dale Guelker, owner of the local automotive shop, barbequed and served on Saturdays, special occasions, and usually had enough left over to sell Sunday or the following week. They had classic car groups and motorcyclists drop by, and also held a Super Bowl party and weekly Zumba classes.
Operation of the White Horse Tavern was transferred to Brian Shirley in 2011. Roger retained ownership of the lot and building. Brian was responsible for placing the iconic white horse fiberglass statue, which stands proudly in front of the historic building.
Taken over by George Higgins in 2011, who operated it for a few months, having occasional live music.
ALLISON KRAUSE CROWSON
Allison Krause Crowson began operating the White Horse Tavern in August 2013, when she was still Assistant Principal at Brenham High School. Allison is a multi-talented well-traveled musician who plays keyboard, accordion, and guitar. She started the Bluebonnet Opry of Brenham in 1998, working tirelessly trying to book the best talent. Allison turned the Opry over in 2003 to the Friends of Bluebonnet Opry, which became a non-profit group dedicated to benefitting Brenham Hospice. Her Burton start came playing and singing at the Pig n Whistle, where she began falling in love with the town of Burton and the people.
After her retirement in 2016, following 29 years in education, the White Horse Tavern really began to flourish. She started by serving breakfast, then lunch and currently featuring Juanita’s Tacos and serving Saturday breakfast. When her lunch crowds grew, she decided to concentrate solely on serving lunch. She modeled her lunches after childhood “memories of being at Aunt Ella Mae Krause’s home in Brenham around lunchtime, where a hot meal was cooked every day that her entire family came home for… Except her husband, Uncle Ervin, who owned a Texaco station and couldn’t come home. Someone would have to make his plate, cover it with foil, and deliver it to him.”
Allison began having live music tribute shows in 2019, portraying such legends as Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Billie Jo Spears, Jeannie C. Riley, Tanya Tucker, Barbara Mandrell, and Johnny Bush. She has produced a Texas Exes Show honoring Darrel Royal, and booked a German folk show, Das Ist Lustig (which means ”That’s Fun”), Additionally, she has hosted Bible groups, Gospel brunches, church retreats, end of life celebrations, weddings, receptions, weekly safety meetings, “Ashes to Go” on Ash Wednesday, political campaigns, Sunday evening reruns of Hee-Haw, a hog and turkey contest, Summer seafood nights, Steak Nights (a Good Friday fishing tournament with all proceeds going to Burton High School scholarships), prepared Meals for Seniors for Burton Bridge Ministries, hosted countless parties, and brought many famous and local musicians to perform in Burton. Truly a tireless entertainer, Allison also coordinates bus charter trips to Branson and Nashville each year, along with Tracy Pitcox, with the Heart of Texas Museum. While on these trips, she performs with the Heart of Texas Roadshow.