Friday, February 2, 2018

Gibson's Discount Center

I just read in the Community Journal that Gibson's is celebrating its 50th anniversary. I enjoyed the article and have a little to add to it.

This is the perfect opportunity to share a 1972 photo I found in the Schreiner University archives. It is in a photo collection whose name seems to have been lost in a file transfer. :(
If I can find the information, I'll give proper credit.

The very first mention I could find of Gibson's in Kerrville is in the December 13, 1967, Kerrville Mountain Sun.
Mr. and Mrs. Morris Harris announced this week that they have obtained the Gibson Discount franchise for Kerrville, and having a gigantic new building under construction to house the firm. ... B.W. Moller, of Victoria, is the owner of the building, and has leased it to Morris Harris. The building is located at 101 West Main Street, between West Main and West Water Streets along the banks of Town Creek.  Alamo Steel Builders of San Antonio are the contractors, and the cost was filed at $90,000.
Around May 1, 1968, R. J. "Jim" Angell opened a pharmacy inside Gibson's.  That year Gibson's sponsored a Little League team, the first of many.

The Kerrville Gibson's is the only remaining store of what was once a chain of more than 400 stores. It's a real treasure to the community. As I have learned, if you're looking for some hard-to-find item,  always check Gibson's!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

853 Clay Street

This house at 853 Clay, at the corner of Myrta Street, was erected between 1922 and 1925 by the Kerrville Lumber Company for Raymond A. Franklin and his wife Kate. At the time Franklin was superintendent of schools for Kerrville, a position he held for 15 years. He was about 22 when he took the job. When he left he was earning the princely sum of $3,000 a year.
Mrs. Franklin taught at Franklin Junior High School for 10 years. One of her classes interviewed pioneer settlers and produced a history of Kerr County based on these oral histories.  The Kerrville Genealogical Society has a copy.
FJHS was named for him, at the students’ request, during his tenure.  In December 1935, after Franklin spent three weeks at the Veterans Hospital, a special meeting of the school board was called. The Franklins resigned and left town and the junior high school was renamed Tivy Junior High School.

On On Oct 6, 1922, J. M. Hamilton and his wife Mary Hamilton transferred a lot on Clay Street (Cage Addition, part of lot 14,  Block G) to their daughter Kate Franklin and her husband R. A. Franklin for $1.
The deed record is confusing on this next part, but it appears that on October 12, 1922, the Franklins contracted with Kerrville Lumber Company to buy lumber on credit to erect a dwelling house. The lumber company then sold the note to H. C. Robinson.  I initially assumed they then immediately erected the house, but it does not appear on the November 1924 Sanborn Fire Insurance map, which suggest it was not yet built. Perhaps the lumber was not released until it was paid for. The lien was released by H. C. Robinson to Kate Franklin and husband on July 16, 1925. This is the probable date construction began.
The Franklins sold this property in July 1937 to S. S. Webster of Harlingen. Webster had lived in Kerrville before, having built the Caroline Courts several years earlier.  In May 1938 Webster obtained a building permit for a dwelling on Myrta Street at a cost of $750.  This may have been a small secondary residence behind the main house.  At some point Webster poured concrete for a sidewalk from the front door of the house to Clay Street and inscribed his name “S S Webster”.  It is visible today.

Sanborn map of 853 Clay Street in 1930

We know they were living at 853 Clay Street before 1930 because of this item in the March 6, 1930, Kerrville Mountain Sun:
Mrs. Ann Hudspeth, West Texas Pioneer, Buried Here Tuesday
Funeral services were held Tuesday for Mrs. Ann Elizabeth Hudspeth, 85, a pioneer of West Texas, who passed away Monday at the home of he  daughter, Mrs. J. M. Hamilton, in Austin.  The services were held Tuesday afternoon from the home of Raymond A. Franklin, 853 Clay Street, conducted by Rev. J. B. Alford of Austin. Interment was made in Glen Rest Cemetery, under direction of the Kerrville Funeral Parlor. … in 1895 they moved to Kerrville where the aged lady made her home until three years ago. Her husband [James A. Hudspeth] preceded her in death on August 7, 1920. He was a discharged Confederate soldier from Arkansas.  [Raymond Franklin was a grandson.]

The Franklins sold this property in July 1937 to S. S. Webster of Harlingen. Webster had lived in Kerrville before, having built the Caroline Courts several years earlier.  In May 1938 Webster obtained a building permit for a dwelling on Myrta Street at a cost of $750.  This may have been a small secondary residence behind the main house.  At some point Webster poured concrete for a sidewalk from the front door of the house to Clay Street and inscribed his name “S S Webster”.  It is visible today.

In April 1944 S.S. Webster and his wife sold the property to C.A. Sackrey. The Sackrey family initially came to Kerrville for health reasons, but daughter Emma did not survive. They decided to stay and moved from a rental on Golf Street to this house they purchased. Then in September 1946 C.A. Sackrey and his wife sold the house to Mrs. Ruth V. Roome, former postmistress of Bandera.

The Kerrville Times reported the following on March 24, 1949. "Mr. and Mrs. Bill Arnold have purchased the residence of Mrs. Ruth Rhome at the corner of Myrta and Clay Streets and will move into the place within the near future.  The house was built by Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Franklin several years ago.”
The Arnolds are mentioned often in the old newspapers, being very active in the Baptist church, the PTA, and other organizations.  The February 20, 1952 Kerrville Times reported  Mrs. Bill Arnold was hosting a Conversational Spanish-English class at her home at 853 Clay through the Tivy Elementary PTA.

In August 1965 Bill A. Arnold and wife sold the house to Richard L. Reeves whose heirs own the property today.

Census Notes:
The 1930 census shows Raymond Franklin owned and lived in a house at 103 Jefferson St. valued at $7500. I think the Jefferson Street address is wrong.  The last page of the census in each district is commonly a list of people who got missed the first time around. There are several families listed at this address. Most likely the census taker was sloppy or trying to get done by the deadline and simply listed names with no effort to provide addresses.

I think there is also an error in the1940 Census. It shows Samuel S. Webster lived at 583 Clay in 1940. This family group is also out of order. Note the address is anagram of 853, which other records indicate is where her really lived. He was born ca 1875 in Tennessee, wife Sarah and operated a tourist court in 1940.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Oak Hill Addition

Oak Hill Addition

This small Kerrville subdivision sits on the former site of Oak Hill, the Remschel family home.
Streets include the even numbers of the 600 block of Myrta Street and all of Remschel Street.
Henry Remschel, a pioneer lumber dealer was the first mayor of Kerrville. Born in 1860, he died in 1938 and is buried at Glen Rest next to his wife Mattie May Remschel.
The house rambled as he added on to it over the years.
This property was first subdivided beginning in 1928, cutting out lots 20 and 21 of block 2 for his daughter Kate, lots 6 and 7 of block 1 to Street Hamilton, and another lot to the "Public". More pieces were cut out in 1936. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Caspar Real Homestead

The small log cabin known as the "Little House"
This beautiful Victorian-era house, located on Lower Turtle Creek Road, is the Caspar Real homestead. Built by Caspar and Emilie Schreiner Real in the 1870s, it is one of the oldest homes in Kerr County and has been continuously owned and occupied by the same family. The fifth generation of Reals now own and live in it. Their grandchildren represent the seventh generation to enjoy this house.

The small barn between the house and garage encloses a log cabin thought to be the older of the two cabins.

Born near Dusseldorf, Germany, in 1824, Caspar Real came to Texas from Alsace in 1848, landing at Indianola. From there he moved to Bexar County and worked as a carpenter, then became a rancher, raising sheep and cattle along Martinez Creek. He had heard of the springs and creeks of the Hill Country, so when a severe drought arrived in 1857 he moved his cattle and sheep up the Guadalupe and settled by a spring on Turtle Creek. It is said he brought the first sheep to Kerr County and some of the first Hereford cattle.

There are two log cabins on the property, one of which is thought to be the first home of Caspar and Emilie before they built this two-story home. Both cabins are still in use today, one as a guest house, the other as a storage building. Family tradition says the one being used as a storage building was first used by the men who tended the livestock and is most likely the oldest of the three buildings.

Caspar Real served in several public offices, including county treasurer 1864-65, tax assessor and collector 1866-69, cattle inspector 1871-72, sheep inspector 1879, county commissioner 1883-85. He died in 1893. Emilie followed in 1918. They are buried together in the family cemetery not far from the home they built.

If you have a home more than 50 years old that you would like me to  research and write about, please contact me at  This address is only for blog mail and is checked infrequently.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Westland Park

Westland Park is bounded by W. Water Street, Woodland Avenue, and Elm Street.
It was originally part of the Lewis dairy farm property, which I wrote about here.
You can read all of my posts about the Westland area here.
The first mention of the park is in the Kerrville Mountain Sun for June 11, 1936, when it reported a birthday party for Emily and Mary Carol Busch thus:
Little Emily and Mary Carol Busch celebrated their birthdays last Thursday afternoon in the home of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Busch on Elm Street in Westland Place.  The young hostess invited their guests to play in Westland Park, which adjoins their home, and here many games and contests were enjoyed.
Emily was 7 or 8 and Mary Carol was 3. The family home was 510 Elm Street.

In March 1937 a crew of city workmen began work on Westland Park, including building curbs, work on adjacent streets and landscaping.
In April the Civic League gave a benefit card and domino party at the Blue Bonnet Hotel to raise money to purchase playground equipment "before the summer tourists arrive in Kerrville".  The price for the event was 35 cents, which included prizes.
They didn't meet their goal, as the first playground equipment wasn't installed until mid-September, the Rotary Club providing financial assistance. The June 8, 1937, Kerrville Mountain Sun reported "It is the hope of Civic League officials to have a supervised playground at Westland Park by next summer.  The park is open for the use of all white children in the city."  Only white children.  Sadly, this was common during the Jim Crow law era. In fact, the entire development was originally "whites only".

In 1939 there was a "Clean-Up Week" in preparation for Summer Playground activities sponsored by the public school system.

The April 28, 1977, Kerrville Mountain Sun reported that Westland Park was rename Elm Street Park and gave the following unfortunate report about some park history:
Due to the heavy flow of traffic on Water, the younger children not only use the park, but Elm Street also, and this is a three block street without much traffic.  It is in constant use, and not as much misuse as when it was built.  The original barbecue pit was demolished, wooden tables and benches were used for firewood, and the swings and other equipment wrecked. … It is now well kept and many adults bring lunches to eat there.  There is a deep well, which furnished water for the Lewis dairy cattle, in the area.  The long cement picnic table was the horse watering trough.
Some time later the park regained the name Westland Park.
Joe Herring Jr. has blogged about this park, including photos of the watering trough.  You can read more from his blog here.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

College Cove

The plat for College Cove Addition was approved in August 1962. It consisted of 24.5 acres and is east of Motley Hills Addition, on the east side of Kerrville. The developer was V. "Happy" Clouse. The city manager C. R. Voelkel told Clouse that the Planning and Zoning Commission "commended him for making such a fine layout of the plat." Clouse was a Kerrville city councilman at the time. 

The first record I found of a home in College Cove was in the November 11, 1962, Kerrville Daily Times when it was reported that J. C. Murray, Tomahawk Trail, received a building permit for a residence for $15,500 and Virgil Clouse, Bow Lane, received a residential building permit for $22,500.

In addition to Tomahawk Trail and Bow Lane, other streeet names include Arrow Lane, Pinto Trail, Michelle Drive, Sky Blue Drive, and Danielle Drive.

The subdivision was annexed to Kerrville in 1963.

To read about other subdivisions in Kerrville go here.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Murray Heights

Murray Heights began development in late 1961. The first mention of this development was in the September 8, 1961, Kerrville Daily Times. It was so named because it was developed by Mr. and Mrs. Tom H. Murray on their property. That issue of the KDT included a plat map of the development and the following caption:
Work is underway on the development of Murray Heights, a subdivision of eleven homesites South of West Main Street between Woodcrest Drive and Galbraith. Built around asphalt-paved Circle Drive, an extension of Fairview Drive, there will be curb, root-proof sewer, water, gas and underground electric and telephone conduit installation. ... completion expected by the end of the year.  The plat has been engineered to save most of the oak trees in the landscape pattern.  R. H. H. Hugman and J. Harris Hein, San Antonio, prepared the engineering and architectural plan.  Mr. and Mrs. Tom H. Murray, 236 Fairview Drive, are initiating the development.

A correction ran a week later saying that Circle Drive was actually Fairview Circle, which is an extension of Fairview Drive.

The house at 236 Fairview is the oldest in the neighborhood and dates to at least April 1957, and probably earlier--most likely 1950 when it was described as being part of the Rees addition. The first mention of this address is in the April 18, 1957, Kerrville Daily Times when it was the home of W. D. "Bob" Walton.
UPDATE: The current owners tell me the house at 236 was built in 1947.

It appears that the first residents of the new "estate homes"of Murray Heights were Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Slater.

To learn about other subdivisions in Kerrville, go here.