NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas — Gruene is a small, historic Texas town near New Braunfels, about an hour south of Austin.

A quick walk around town and you will find plenty of businesses and restaurants to explore, including one of Texas' oldest dance halls.

Running right by town is the Guadalupe River, which is where you will find people floating on tubes and cooling off in the summer.

So why is the town named Gruene?

Plaques around town will tell you the history. They say it was named after a man named Henry D. Gruene, who founded the town in 1872.

According to the plaques, Gruene established his first business in the town, which was a water wheel gristmill. Gruene later ventured into working with a cotton gin, mercantile business, saloon and dance hall, blacksmith shop, lumber yard, feed mill and automobile agency.

Some of the old businesses and buildings that Gruene owned and created have been transformed over the years.

The Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar is located in Gruene's old cotton gin and overlooks the Guadalupe River. As you walk through the ruins of the old gin you will really feel like you've stepped back in time.

When you look down onto the river from the restaurant, you may want to head down there to cool off.

There are multiple businesses nearby that rent out tubes and rafts that you can use to float down the river, including Gruene River Company and Rockin' R River Rides.

If you have a bit of a sweet tooth and are craving a soda or candy, there are multiple stores in town you can head to, including the Gruene General Store, located in the heart of the historic downtown.

PHOTOS: Businesses around Gruene, Texas

Across the street from the Gruene General Store is one of the oldest dance halls in the state, Gruene Hall.

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The hall is known for how long it's been around, but it's also historic due to the legendary performers that have passed through the venue.

Big names such as George Strait and Willie Nelson have performed in the hall as well as countless others. You can find the names and photos of the performers lining the walls of the front room in the building.

Most artists have to pass through the front door when they come to perform, but some enter in through a door toward the back of the building, on the side. This door is known as the "Willie Door." The door is named for Willie Nelson after the venue decided they needed a way to get him in a little easier than walking him through the crowd.

Gruene Hall still hosts daily performances.

WATCH: Gruene, Texas – a small Texas town with big Texas history

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