Dan Grieder

Dan Grieder was a transplanted Texan. He was pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Austin (7th and Lavaca) from 1928 to 1939, then decided he wanted to become english teacher. He lived on Avenue G in Hyde Park for about 7 years next door to Willie Folts, president of Austin National bank. So there in Hyde Park, across an open field and on Ave F lived Peter and Clo Mansbendel. Dan Grieder and Peter Mansbendel had a close frienship."He was, I think the best male friend that I ever had and I was made desolate by his passing away at age 56." The picture below was taken of Peter and Dan in the summer of 1934 on Duval street in Austin.

"Peter and I became aqainted soon after I arrived in Austin, and I immediately found that we were kindred souls,-he, an accomplished artist and I a young Presbyterian minister. We spent much time together, and I used to visit him in his shop and watch him perform miracles in wood, and later clay and wood, when he was doing the University presidents. He visited our home and was devoted, not only to me, but to my wife Bernice as well. My wife and I recogized the wonderful talent, actually the genius of this Swiss woodcarver". Grieder also described Peter like this "Peter Mansbendel, was an artist of the highest caliber, who came to this country from Basel, Swizterland. He was a real wit, and a fine storyteller; a fine conversationist and entertainer. "

"It will amuse you to know that Peter and I had a running joke,-we were so similar in appearance that people would, on ocassion stop Peter on the street and compliment him on a wedding or a funeral service that they mistakenly thought he had performed, when it had been I who had performed the service. It also happened that people would comment to me on a piece of carving, thinking I was Peter. At the dry cleaners they several times handed me Peter's clothes, and we would have to exchange clothes thus mistakenly passed out. So often Peter would walk across the vacant field to our home on Avenue G, to visit and pass on our latest joke. He was a wonderful person." Grieder told Victor Heath.

When Peter died in 1940 Grieder was called upon by Clo to conduct the burial service. "It was a difficult service for me to perform, but one that I was willing to perform for Peter's sake. I still have my notes on my remarks that afternoon in July. I recall that I tried in a small way, to pay tribute to Peter's fine talent, his wonderful spirit, his amazing genius, and greatness as a person. I remember saying that I hoped that recoginition would be given to Peter's great contribution to Texas. I stood there in his living room I spoke of Peter's work, which could be seen, much of it, right there in his home before our eyes. All of it evidence of the genuiness of his spirit, and his perfection of line and form".

"Of how his work revealed his love of truth,-both in thought and in form; of how his comments upon that passage of scripture: "...establish thou the work of our hands, yes, the work of our hands establish thou it". Psalms 90:17 "And in closing I spoke of the Madridlians, who so loved their native Spain, that it is said, when one of their loved one died, that " he had gone from Madrid to Heaven, and in Heaven there is a little window looking down upon Madrid". So I felt Peter would be looking down upon us earthlings, through a window in the sky!"

Grieder later moved to Windsor Road and Hopi Trail and then in 1951 he moved to West Lake Hills where he became that city's first mayor. He also had a poetry column called "Dan Grieder's Corner" in the Austin Statesman during this period.

Grieder might best be remembered for the 25 years he led community wide Singalongs on the hillside at Barton Springs on Thursday and Sunday evenings. He would dress in a white suit with a red shirt and tie, and he peformed these services until he left Austin in 1959 and retired in California.
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