Friday, December 28, 2012

217 W. Water Street

This is one of those places that is easy to miss. Located across from Mamacita's, this Craftsman cottage was constructed in the late 1920s, and no later than March 1930.
The first record of a house in the written record is in the 1930 census. That same year Otto Bernhard gave the property to his wife Ottilia for "love and affection" and she became the owner.
According to his 1958 obituary, Otto Bernhard, a native of Gillespie County, had lived in Kerrville 38 years, so he arrived about 1920.  In addition to being the family home, Bernhard ran a trucking company from this property, specializing in hauling dirt and gravel.
The Bernhards lived here many years.
The house was sold in 1962 to Dr. John Redden for his veterinary practice.  Later Dr. Joseph Kitzman took over the practice.  It has been a commercial property since.

1932. Photo from the Kerr History Center collection.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

No Curb Service

Here is the building with the sign when it was outside.
This sign, found on an inside wall at Herring Printing, 615 Water Street, is an historical remnant.  It can be seen from the street if one knows where to look. 

The sign references two old businesses: the  Modern Beauty Salon and Campbell's Cafe.    When I first saw this I thought the reference was to curb service being offered (or not) at the beauty salon!  That was certainly an intriguing idea, one difficult to picture.  I now know that Campbell's was a cafe that originally offered curb service.  At some point curb service was eliminated at the cafe, which is probably when "No Curb Service" was added and the word "Curb" painted over.

As you can see in the black and white photo, this sign used to be on the outside of the Modern Beauty Salon building.  In the same photo you can see a vacant lot next to the Modern Beauty Salon building. That vacant lot once was the parking lot and part of the curb service area for Campbell's.

Mr. Bruce O. Long opened the Modern Beauty Salon at 617 Water Street on Saturday, October 23, 1937, in the "new Parsons Building".  The business changed hands a few years later, when Mae Walz purchased the business and added a Merle Norman Studio. (The building address had changed but it's still the same building.)

In July 1949, Rae Fergason, Ann Hammock and Eloise Brown announced they were "glad to see their old friends and to make new ones at the Modern Beauty Salon."

In October, 1949, it advertised late night hours, an unusual idea at the time. "The Modern Beauty Salon announces a special night service for BUSINESS WOMEN and NURSES By appointments only on Wednesday nights until 9 p.m.  617 Water St."

The business continued until at least 1950 according to the city directory.

The next business in the space may have been Howard Wilson's print shop. If so, it wasn't here very long.  The only record I can find of this print shop is in a news story about Paul McDonald, Co. reporting that he bought the printing plant of Howard Wilson in 1951. Four years later McDonald moved his shop from 617 Water Street to a new building in the 500 block of Sidney Baker Street.  J. Marvin Hunter's print shop was apparently next, followed by Herring Printing in 1965.

As for Campbell's Cafe, whose name occupies the lower part of the sign, the Kerrville Mountain Sun July 10, 1928, ran the following news item,  "Campbell & Son of San Antonio have opened a drive-in hamburger and drink stand on Water Street in the tile construction building erected for them by Bert Parsons.  Facilities for curb service are available, as well as parking space within the enclosure housing the building, and tables and seats have been arranged under outdoor lights for the convenience of those who desire to be out in the open while partaking of refreshments. "  The cafe moved down the street from 611 to 307 Water Street in 1932, then four years later returned to the original location.

The building the cafe occupied was torn down a while back. By 1948 its old parking lot was replaced with a commercial building, and thus the reason the old sign is now inside.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pioneer Lodge

Originally know as Pioneer Lodge, these apartments at 1814 Broadway, Kerrville, are currently known as Broadway Place Apartments.
The first seven units of this former tourist court were erected in May 1946 by H. E. Nelson.  In July of that year, Nelson applied for another building permit to erect an addition six units. A few more were added later.
undated early photo
Tourist courts, early motels, arose in the 1920s, '30s, and '40s to meet the demands of the car-owning traveling public. Unlike hotels, which were generally downtown, the tourist court was automobile friendly. Commonly a collection of small individual cabins and cottages, the traveler could park right in front of his room, sometimes under a carport. They were often arranged around a lawn, making them inviting to families.  The style of the Pioneer Lodge, long buildings with several units under one roof, became more common after World War II as tourist courts began to look like modern motels.

It appears that the Pioneer Lodge fairly early became long-term residential units rather than overnight tourist facilities.  By 1965, when it was offered for sale, all 16 residential units, "all with kitchenettes", were occupied and provided steady income.
By 1975 they were advertised as Pioneer Lodge Apartments for Senior Citizens.  The facility has had two name changes since.  It continues today as kitchenette apartments.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Kerrville Tourist Cottage Camp

Constructed in 1928, these cottages in the 1700 block of Water Street were originally known as Kerrville  Tourist Cottage Camp and later as Kerrville Tourist Courts. There once were more cabins than today.
Richard Holdsworth purchased the property in 1927 from the Furman Co., Inc. for $1500. He constructed the cottages, then in September 1928 he sold the property to Frank Marek for $6000 who  opened the Kerrville Tourist Cottage Camp. In 1930 Frank Marek sold the property to Harry J. Chafee and his wife.
The Chafees were the owners at the time of the 1932 flood.  The July 7, 1932 Kerrville Mountain Sun described what happened to these cottages. "As a whimsical child would move toy houses from one village to another, the flood clutched up several amber-orange cottages from the Kerrville Cottage Camp at 1717 Water Street, and deposited them a block away on the grounds of Bass Courts.  In contrast to the white and green cottages there, the flood-shifted cabins were easily seen."
Eighty years later the color scheme is about the same!
I do not know if the cabins affected were torn down or returned to their original locations.

In 1933 Mrs. Chafee announced the opening of the Lone Oak Sandwich Shop at the Cottage Camp. It was advertised as under new management, but I haven't found a mention of an earlier restaurant here.

No longer operating as a motel, these units today are rental apartments.

UPDATE: In July 2017 this property was restored and reopened as River Trail Cottages, short term rentals along the Guadalupe.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

1920s City Park

In the 1920s there was a park in Kerrville along the river bank downtown called "City Park".  Access was from "Pampell's Corner" and from the foot of Earl Garrett Street.  This is not the same as Lake Side Park, which was on Water Street between E and F streets.  The City Park was large enough to hold events for more than 70 people.
The Civic League "agitated for and supervised" the creation of the park in 1923. At the dedication of the park the Chamber of Commerce was thanked and Sid Peterson in particular who donated his time and supervised the construction of the park.
It was managed by Henry Lachele. It had a motor boat ramp where boat rides were offered after Adalbert Mohn moved his motor boat business from Ingram to Kerrville that summer.  J. J. Carson shortly afterwards bought the business.
There were also kiddie rides, such as rowboat rides.
An advertisement in the July 12, 1923, Kerrville Mountain Sun offered a two mile motor boat ride in a 26-passenger boat for 10c, children 5c.
There were several fundraisers to develop this park, including a card party in 1923, and one in 1924 that included swimming races in the mill pond.
It was right along the river front, below the bluff. I found mention in the newspaper one time that picnic tables were removed before a water rise so they didn't wash away.
The dream in placing a park here was to have a pleasant spot with lots of activities that would draw people to the river.
Henry Lachele sold the boats in 1929.  The park seems to have closed then. I find no further mention of this particular city park and I have found no images.
The remnants of the first City Park were probably washed downstream in the 1932 flood.

On February 13, 1931, the Kiwanis Club held a clean up day on a city block donated by Capt. Tivy years earlier as a city park.  It was referred to then as Tivy Park and its limits were First, Garrett [now Lytle], Second, and Everett streets. Almost immediately, though, it was referred to in the papers as City Park transferring that name from the now forgotten first park.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

1708 Broadway

This building, now home to Hill Country Affordable Motors, was constructed in the spring of 1936 by Rankin C McBryde on land owned by Henry Weiss. It was originally a Sinclair filling station.
Courtesy of Roger Lachele
As you can see from this photo of the Sinclair Ideal filling station, probably taken shortly after it opened, the building is almost unchanged.
The 3rd man from the left is Raymond Lachele, who lived in a house on G Street between Water Street and the river.

March 1936,  Rankin C. McBryde, agent for Sinclair products built "one of the new bungalow type filling stations" at the corner of Broadway and G Street, facing Highway 27.  E. L. Turner was the contractor; W. W. Miller Lumber Co. supplied materials.   The station will be operated by Alfred Rusche and the bungalow portion occupied by his family.  Rusche has operated the Sinclair station at the corner of Water Street and Medina Road for several years.When it opened in 1936 R. C.McBryde was the Sinclair agent and  Alfred Rusche was the station operator.  Rusche had previously operated the Sinclair station at the corner of Water Street and Medina Road (now G Street).

Sometime before April 1948 it became Landgrebe's Grocery.  "Guns Bought, Sold, and Traded". It may have been a grocery, but it mostly advertised guns.  In October, 1955, the grocery store suffered extensive fire damage. Landgrebe opened a new grocery at the corner of Tivy and Barnett streets and rebuilt the old store.  In addition to the grocery, by 1954 Landgrebe's Used Cars was in operation and continued here after the fire.  It  has been a used car lot ever since.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Cailloux Theater and the Kerr County War Memorial

Parking lot view to show the brickwork of the original building.
Recently there has been talk about expanding and adding names to the Kerr County War Memorial.  The War Memorial under discussion is apparently the one located on the Courthouse grounds that was erected in 1991.  I'm curious to know if the discussion includes an even larger War Memorial that exists just one block away--the Cailloux Theater.

In 1944 an effort began in Kerr County to establish a War Memorial in the form of a building that would also honor all who served.
The initial effort was intended to raise money for a memorial auditorium, club rooms, and public library annex next to Antler Stadium. Fundraising was going along at a slow steady pace when the Kerr County War Memorial Association (KCWMA) received a generous bequest. In 1951 Walter Jarmon, who owned two lots at the corner of Washington and Main streets, left his entire estate for the benefit the Kerr County War Memorial Association.  It was decided to build a war memorial building on the Main Street property instead.

In 1954 the KCWMA deeded the property to the county on the condition that the property be used "toward erection or equipping or/and maintaining a public building to be dedicated to the honor of those who have served the United States in all Wars."  The county had two years to use the property or it would revert to the KCWMA.
They did not meet the deadline and it did revert to the KCWMA.  In 1959 the organization deeded the property to the City of Kerrville and in 1960 the Kerrville Municipal Auditorium opened. In 2000 the Cailloux family made a generous gift to expand and improve the Municipal Auditorium.  As a result the building was renamed the Cailloux Theater when it reopened March 27, 2003.
The building must remain as a war memorial or it reverts to the KCWMA or its successor.
To meet this requirement, the memorial to Kerr County's war dead through Vietnam is found carved in stone on the stairway landing in the lobby.  Large as it is, it is easy to miss.  In fact, since I usually just go directly to my seat and don't dawdle in the lobby, I didn't even know it was there until a few days before I wrote this.

"In memory of those persons who gave their lives in the service to and defense of this country."
Memorial wall in lobby

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

713 Sidney Baker Street

This house across from Zion Lutheran Church is yet another Kerrville house that started out in a different location. It was probably built around 1900, making it more than a century old.

Henry J. Niehaus  received a permit in late September 1951 to move a house to 713 Sidney Baker, presumably this one. 
There were several ads in May and June 1951 advertising  buildings to be moved, including "large 6 room house to be moved or wrecked and removed from premises.  Lots of good material in this building.  John S. Atkins 202 Blue Bonnet Hotel." This is the description that most closely matches the pictured house.  But even knowing who may have owned it I have not yet been able to find where it was originally. Do any of my readers know?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mosty's Garage

November 2012.  Tricky getting a photo without cars at a busy intersection.
Edited to enhance details
This is Mosty's Garage at 101 Water Street.  Mosty's has been at this location since February, 1930, but the business is older than that. It was established as Luther & Mosty Garage in late 1926 on Main Street. Four months later they moved to 111 Water Street, just across the Town Creek bridge. In August, 1928, Mr. Evlyn Mosty bought out H. N. Luther and the business became Mosty's Garage.

March, 1926, Thomas Frayne sold the property to L. A. Leinweber for $1,500.  Three and a half years later, in November, 1929, L. A. Leinweber sold the property to Mosty for $4,500. That's quite an increase in value in 3 1/2 years.  There must have been a substantial building on the property.
On February 3, 1930, after a remodeling, Mosty moved his business one final time.  The garage has been here ever since.
The Kerrville Mountain Sun of February 6, 1930, made this report, "This property was recently purchased by the garage firm and remodeled into a modernly equipped service station and general repair department.  For several years Mosty's Garage was located at 111 Water Street at the north end of Town Creek bridge. "

I am not certain of the exact age of the buildings, but we know they were erected some time between 1924 and 1929.  The 1924 Sanborn map shows a house on this property, and in 1930 the buildings we see today were here, both the old gas station and the hollow tile service building behind.  We can assume Mosty didn't erect either building since the newspaper reported only that he had remodeled.

I have not been able to absolutely determine what business was here before Mosty's but I found an advertisement for the  "St. Louis Fur Buyer, Water and Lemos Sts.  Dealer in Furs, Poultry and Eggs. Dressed Poultry at all Times" in the Kerrville Mountain Sun of December 20, 1928.
Since at the four corners of this intersection in 1930 were Haines funeral home, two residences, and a commercial building, it is highly likely that the business in this space immediately before Mosty's moved in was the fur buyer.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Old Kerrville First Presbyterian Manse

Once upon a time Presbyterian churches provided residences for their pastors.  The home was known as the manse.  Today the pastors get a living allowance instead and choose their own homes.
This brick building on Earl Garrett between Jefferson and North streets served as the manse for the First Presbyterian Church of Kerrville for almost 50 years. It was erected in 1931.  The following item appeared in the Kerrville Times of June 18, 1931.
Work to Begin Soon On Presbyterian Manse
The congregation of the First Presbyterian Church voted last Sunday to award the contact for the building of the new manse to W. W. Miller & Son for the general contract and the plumbing and heating contract to W. B. Brown Co. Although the contracts have not been signed by the Building Committee, it is assumed that the contracts will go to these two firms as the low bidders.
The manse is to face Earl Garrett and will be of brick finish.  Nine rooms, three bathrooms, and sleeping porches are provided.
Work will begin within a few days. ... A. W. Malin is the architect.
The old manse is to be rearranged for class use of the Sunday School department.

The manse ceased serving as the home of the pastor in 1979. Rev. Neil Weatherhogg was the last pastor to live in the house. It was incorporated into and attached to the church building in 1981.

Monday, November 19, 2012

902 Jefferson Street

This two story house was originally only one story.  It was expanded, by additions and remodeling, into a 12-room, two-story house in 1931 by the owner L. T. Davis. The original house was constructed sometime before 1899, exact date uncertain. This property was part of the estate of Nicolas Souballe, a native of France, who died March 31, 1913, in this house. He was a pioneer settler in Kerr County, arriving in 1868. He may have married more than once.  In the 1880 census, his wife's name was given as Rose. There were no children. In 1900, his wife's name was give as Mary.  She had one child, who was not living with them, so was either an adult or had already died. It is possible Mary and Rose are the same person. Her headstone in Mountain View Cemetery, which reads "Rose Sowball", was supposed to read  "Here repose Nicolas Souballe and his wife M. R. Souballe."
His heirs were Ann (Annette) Rotge, her children Louise, Peter, and Ernest Rotge, and one Louis Michon. Ann Rotge was a native of France. It is probable there was some sort of family relationship. I also found mention in a 1928 newspaper of one Louis Jonon, a stepson of Souballe. He is not mentioned in the will.
Ann Rotge and daughter Louise cared for Souballe until his death.  According to their declaration he had no children of his own.  He owned three houses and lots on Jefferson Street. This is the one Louise Rotge inherited.
It's interesting to note that although he had lived in this country for more than 50 years, Souballe wrote his will in French.  An official English translation is filed with it.

In 1924, Louise Rotge sold this lot and house to Louis T. and Estha Davis for $2000. The Davises, who arrived in Kerrville in late 1920, owned The Vogue ladies' ready to wear shop on Water Street. They lived in this house many years.

Nicolas Souballe also owned the houses at 908 and 912 Jefferson Street. Earnest Rotge inherited the house at 908 and Peter Rotge inherited the house at 912.

In 1920, Earnest Rotge sold the house he inherited to C. B. Mellancon?; Peter sold his to J. Q. Wheeler. Three years later, both properties were sold to Dr. Edward Galbraith.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Cypress Creek School

The western face has no windows.

The eastern face, with five windows.

The "comfort" station
After photographing buildings in the city of Kerrville and in the Turtle Creek Community, I decided to venture further afield and went to find the Cypress Creek School.  The school building is located at the northern end of Stoneleigh Road, Comfort, just off FM 1341. The drive, whether coming from Center Point or Kerrville, is scenic.
This lovely limestone rock building, erected 1908 by the German-speaking residents, was an active school until 1942, when the school was closed and students were sent to Comfort. It has a Texas Historical Marker .

It was interesting to note that while there are five windows on the eastern face, there are no windows on the western face of the building.  It seems odd since it would make the building darker, but was the purpose, perhaps, to keep the schoolhouse cooler in the hot months?

This schoolhouse now serves as a community center.  Near the school  are two "comfort stations"(latrines) and a large pavillion with picnic tables.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

1421 Broadway


A. C. Schreiner sold the lot this house sits on to Y. W. Baker in June 1922.  Baker bought four adjoining lots for $900, with the apparent intention of erecting rental houses. The house you see to the rear on the left is one Baker built for himself.
This house appears on the 1924 Sanborn map so it was put up in 1923 or late 1922. At that time the house number was 1321 Broadway.
Early advertisements describe it as a modern 4 room cottage with large sleeping porch and garage.  It doesn't seem to have changed much in the intervening years. With the exception of the porch railings, even the exterior architectural details are the same.
The house today is a commercial property, and has been since at least 1985, possibly earlier.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

1400 Water Street

I've been puzzling over this house for a while, so I think I'll just lay out some of the more interesting items I've found.  Some of what I have found is conflicting. Maybe someone out there knows more about this 1920s era house.
Today this house on the corner of D Street and Water Street has the address of 1400 Water Street, but originally it was 1300 Water Street.  The address changed sometime between 1924 and 1927, exact date uncertain.
In September 1922, Harry Gordon and wife sold the lot this house sits on to Mrs. Dora Brown for $800.  After checking prices of surrounding lots I found some lots selling for as little as $75, so I believe there may have been a building on the property.  The 1924 Sanborn fire insurance map shows a small store building with a porch.  The porch overlies the street right-of-way.  (I'm having trouble getting the Sanborn map to load properly.  If I fix it, I'll add the map so you can see what I mean.)

In December 1923, she sold the business to H. A. Hartmann and P. J. Baethge.  They went out of business eight months later in July 1924.  Mrs. Brown must have begin operating a new store, because the following item appeared in the May 1, 1924, Kerrville Mountain Sun.
Noll Believes in Advertising.
Henry Noll of the Noll Stock Co. believes in advertising and never misses a chance to boost his business but he is undergoing quite a lot of joshing over one of his latest advertising stunts.
Several years ago when the Noll Stock Co. put on auto delivery service they had a practically new horse drawn wagon left on their hands. Mrs. Dora Brown, who recently opened a grocery in the lower part of the city, offered to buy the wagon.
Henry, sensing an opportunity for boosting his business, offered to sell the wagon to her at a reduced figure if she would permit him to carry an ad on the side of the wagon.  She agreed, and the trade was made. When the wagon appeared on the streets on one side it bore the legend, "It Pays to Trade at Noll's". But on the other side in glaring letters was the additional information: "You Can Buy Cheaper at Mrs. D. Brown's."

The county deed book records on May 21, 1925, a sale of land from R. E. Brewer to Mrs. Dora Brown in the amount of $1675 mentions a house on the land. She also gets several pieces of furniture:  1 dining table, round, and 6 chairs, 1 cane rocker, 2 home made walnut rockers; 1 dresser, 1 center table, 1 iron bed, one mattress, one coal oil stove and oven and one heating stove.

Then, on July 30, 1925, the following item appears in the Kerrville Mountain Sun. Note that the brothers combined two store buildings they owned. Is this the same building? Was this house actually created from combining two retail buildings?  Were they living behind the store?
Brown Brothers Enlarge Grocery
The Brown brothers have just competed the doubling of the amount of floor space occupied by their grocery store on lower Water Street near Lakeside Park.  Two store buildings owned by them have been moved together and the walls torn out between, making one large room for the display of their wares.
The mother of the boys, Mrs. Dora Brown, started the store about two years ago, but has now turned business over to her sons, who recently closed out their business in Boerne.  Names of the proprietors are I. M. and S.A. Brown, and they are wide-awake, progressive merchants.

December 1926, Sam A. Brown bought the business from his brothers and on December 1 opened the store as a cash and carry.  Two months later Alois Remschel opened a tire and accessory store in the building "former occupied by Brown Bros Grocery".  He was still in business in July 1927, yet during this time H.E. Lucas opened the Lucas Cash Grocery in April 1927.  This building must be at today's 1400 Water.  The "old" 1400 would be 1500 today, and in 1930 there was no building at 1500 Water.
The following is from the May 5, 1927, Kerrville Mountain Sun.
Extension to the Lucas Cash Grocery.  H. E. Lucas, who opened up a cash grocery store at 1400 Water Street recently, is engaged this week in making an enlargement to his store.  Fixtures are being installed in a room adjacent to the store and progress in installing an up to date delicatessen shop, where he will be able to furnish to the public a complete line of salads, lunch meats, sandwiches, pastries and other picnic or luncheon delicacies.

In the 1930 and 1940 censuses this building was occupied as a rental residence, Avislena Patterson and family being here in 1930, and Wayne T. Sibson and family in 1940.  It continued as a private residence until sometime after 1960.  A day care center operated here 2000-2006.  The most recent occupant was the Most Holy Theotokos Mission of the Orthodox Christian Church.

I have much more on this house, chain of title, newspaper mentions, and census data which I won't bore you with, but much of it is conflicting. Do any of my readers know more about this house?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Auld Center

This building at 1121 Second Street, Kerrville, exists today because the youth of Kerrville raised the money for it.  Originally to be called the J. M. Auld Family Youth Center, it quickly became known as the J. M. Auld Youth Center.  Today the building is simply known as the Auld Center and is no longer a youth center. It has been the home of Club Ed community education programs for more than two decades. While many Club Ed programs have moved to the Dietert Center, some classes continue here today.  (As a note, the original address was 629 College Street. Giving buildings new addresses, especially corner lots, has not been uncommon around here.)

In February 1947, 147 youth met and organized a Teen Age club sponsored by the Tivy Jr.-Sr. P.T.A. and the American Legion Auxiliary.  Youth submitted names for their new organization. By popular vote, the name "Tivy Teen Tavern" was selected.  Betty Plitt suggested the name.  Her prize was a carton of gum and one dollar!
At first Teen Tavern was held at the American Legion building on Memorial Boulevard, but it quickly outgrew the space.  The youth decided to raise money for their own building.  After about a year of fund-raising, J. M. Auld, at the urging of his children, donated the remaining funds.  The hollow tile and concrete building was completed at a cost of $14,000 in December 1949.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

964 Barnett Street

This house at 964 Barnett, now belonging to the Unitarian Universalist congregation, was built in 1924.
The first owners were sisters Reba and Lynn Burnett.  Two years later they offered it for sale, but it didn't change hands until they sold it to Charles and Kate Real in 1929.  Charles was a "medicine salesman".  Charles and Kate lived here 5 or 6 years, then put their house up for rent. It has had several owners since.
In 1942 there was an unusual ad in the newspaper:  "WANTED Couple retired interested in playing ahuffleboard during morning or afternoons Please drive by 964 Barnett Street."
I understand this completely.  I would love to find some folks to play Scrabble with!
The occupants at the time were Mr. and Mrs. Homer Brooks.  I wonder where the shuffleboard court was.
The house had a number of occupants over the years.  Robert F. Snow lived in this house the longest--from before 1958 to after 1971.

The Unitarian Church bought it in 2007 to provide addition space.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

960 Barnett Street

This cottage at 960 Barnett Street has been the home of the Unitarian Universalist church since 1998.

James and Hazel Young, who moved to Kerrville in 1913, bought this house in 1919 from J. B. and M. A. Tucker. The Tuckers may have been the ones who built the house. The Tuckers bought the entire lot from J. E. Palmer in January 1919, then divided it, selling part to the Youngs. The increase in value of the property and the fact that the Youngs were required to carry insurance until the debt was paid, suggests that the Tuckers built the house, then sold it to the Youngs.
James Young managed the Schreiner Grocery Dept. for many years; his wife was a piano teacher. This was their home as well as her piano studio.  He died in 1951; she continued to live here until her death in 1963.  They are buried at Garden of Memories.

In 2007 the Unitarian Universalist congregation bought the house next door.  I will blog about that house next.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Meta Paul's Boarding House

This Victorian house on Bushwhack Creek in the Upper Turtle Creek community originally was at 941 Main Street in Kerrville, about where the Catholic school gym parking lot is today.
Built about 1890 for Green and Mollie Coleman, it was moved in 1985 to a rural property where it remains today.   We believe the  black and white photo below, which shows the house in rear view, was taken just before the Armistice Day parade in 1919. 

Here is the house today from a similar view.

This house locally is known as Meta Paul's Boarding House.
Mrs. Paul was the daughter of Henry Henke.  In 1922 her huband, Elo Wied, an auto mechanic in Gonzales, died when a car he was working on fell on him.  At the age of 27 she was now a widow with three young children to support somehow.  She moved back to Kerrville where her father bought the house next door and helped her set up a boarding house.  She later married Henry Paul, and while the marriage ended in divorce in a few years, she was ever after known as Meta Paul.
She was well-known for her excellent cooking, especially her cream puffs. There were wait lists for her two lunch seatings every day.

This house is one of the few remaining houses in Kerr County with any connection to Admiral Chester Nimitz.  Nimitz, who grew up in Kerrville, was first cousin to Meta Paul and visited this house.

This house is my home.  We feel honored to be the caretakers of this very special house.

Friday, October 26, 2012

When Major League Baseball Came to Kerrville

Kerrville Athletics, from the Kerr County Historical Commission Collection
My purpose on this blog has been to tell the stories of the built environment in Kerr County.  I have tried to focus on the histories of the buildings and man-made objects that still exist in the county.  But I have found an interesting story about a place that no longer exists, and I don't want to ignore it because of a self-imposed rule.
So today we have a picture of a baseball team rather than the ball park they played on. The story of that team follows, but first ...

I was fascinated to read that the New York Giants and the Chicago White Sox played here in an exhibition game to benefit Legion Hospital on March 19, 1930.  They were in spring training in San Antonio. They took the train from San Antonio, visited at Legion Hospital, lunched at the Blue Bonnet Hotel, played the game, then returned to San Antonio the same day. The White Sox won 9-8. The team managers agreed to play the game in Kerrville on the condition that all disabled ex-servicemen in the U.S. Veterans' Hospital at Legion be admitted without charge.  Tickets for all others were $1 each and all net proceeds went to the emergency relief fund of the local American Legion Post. Some 1500 people attended the game, the only major league game ever played here. For those who want to know further details of the game, the March 30, 1930, Kerrville Mountain Sun, has a full report on page 11. It can be read on-line at

Now back to the photo.  An item in the January 30, 1947, Kerrville Mountain Sun, describes an old photo of a Kerrville baseball team and identifies the men in the photo. I believe it is the same photo as above. The men are: the manager Ernst Schwethelm, the manager Al Manny [who was the pitcher], Eddie Hanson, Charlie Rawson, Caspar Real, Felix Mosel, Emmett Henke, Werner Lochte, "an important catcher", Nick Garcia, and "one of the Mittanek boys".

There were once several baseball clubs in the Hill Country.   The white team from Kerrville, which played in the Hill Country League, was first known as the Kerrville Athletics, and later (from 1931 to 1936) the Kerrville Braves.
The black team was known variously as the Black Athletics (1922-28), Black Bearcats (1928) Kerrville Boosters (1929) AllStars (1929-1933) and the Black Braves (1934-1942). There was also a team in 1946 called the American Legion Black Stars. 

The first mention I could find of a Kerrville baseball team is in the July 11, 1894, San Antonio Daily Light. At first the ball park where they played was on G Street between Water Street and Broadway, about where Culligan's is today.  In 1924 the grandstands and fences were dismantled and moved to a new location at Paschal and McFarland streets. The last year that games were played there was 1946. The old field was then demolished for the new Schreiner Wool and Mohair Commission Warehouse. The old field had been used by both black and white teams, but since, in those years of segregation, whites always had first claim to the park, the black teams rarely got to use it unless they were playing a white team. Eventually a baseball park for their use was established on Webster Street. 
In 1949 a baseball field opened on the old race track at the fairgrounds. A newly organized Kerrville team played one year and was then disbanded.

There was another, later, Kerrville Baseball Park built to support a local team, this one on the Fredericksburg Road (now Sidney Baker St.), mention being made in the papers for a few years beginning in 1956.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Beddingfield House

This distinctive large house at 712 Earl Garrett was built in 1937 for J. C. Beddingfield.  It was built with the intention of renting out rooms. This concrete and steel building, designed by architects Malon & Malon, was built at a cost of $5000.  The two story, six-columned portico is reminiscent of Mount Vernon.
It remained in family ownership until 1991.
The property then changed hands a couple of times.

The house was renovated in 2005 by Mark and Linda Stone for Diane and Bob Green.  It now house Kerr County Abstract.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

1700 Water Street

This building is the third of three former gas stations at the intersection of Water and G Streets. It is also the mostly easily recognizable as a former gas station.

This building, home to Edson's Kerrcrafters, was erected in August 1932 as a Gulf filling station.  It replaced an earlier gas station and garage that was destroyed by fire in June of 1932. That station had been operated by Roy Troutner.
At the time of the fire the building was owned by Mrs. P. Ethridge, the land by T. C. and Minnie Staley.
The new one-story frame filling state and auto repair shop was leased to brothers M. P. and Jack Woodward, who ran the business for a while.

Edson's Kerrcrafters was established in 1938 at 1704 Water Street.  Minnie Staley sold this property next door in July 1943 to A. B. Edson and wife who then converted the gas station to a furniture workshop.  The building, expanded over the years, has housed Edson's Kerrcrafters ever since.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

1701 Water Street

This building at the corner of Water and G Streets has housed C. T. Robinett Paints since 1969, but originally it was a garage and filling station, one of three at this intersection.
J. C. Adrian and his wife had a home on the banks of the Guadalupe they called Live Oak Hill.
In 1926 they transferred the property to their son Morris, who then sold it to J. G. Cox. Cox was the local Texaco agent, who then erected this building. It was known as the Handy Stop Texaco. A gas station operated here for more than 20 years.
In 1946 Mr. and Mrs. Ned Harrel opened a barbecue stand at the rear of 1701 Water Street serving chickens, goats, and other meats, as well as iced watermelons.  It does not appear have been there long, as only a few ads appeared.
In 1954 there was a secondhand store, which was only there a short time. For most of the next 15 years the building sat vacant until Robinett Paints opened in 1969. It has been expanded and remodeled several times since.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

1621 Water Street

Before the Sidney Baker Street bridge was constructed, the river crossing at G Street was heavily used, much more so than today.  As a result there were once three gas stations at the corner of Water and G Streets.  The intersection was also called at various times, and sometimes concurrently, "Water Street and Medina Road" and "Water Street and Turtle Creek Road".  The fourth corner held the Caroline Courts tourist camp.

The first mention I find in the newspaper of a service station at 1621 Water Street is November 11, 1926, when Linder's Garage "formerly Highway Garage" is mentioned. I don't know how much earlier the Highway Garage had been in business.
On November 25, 1926, the Kerrville Mountain Sun reported that "L. F. Linder, who for the past two months has conducted a filling station at the corner of Water Street and Medina, last week opened a completely equipped garage and service department in connection." Within two years, a lunchroom had opened in connection with the garage. You could have a meal while your car was being serviced.
The last mention of a service station here is in 1935 (although one may have continued longer).  After that a series of cafes and taverns have been housed in this building.  My personal favorite (because of a funny family story involving rabbit) was the Buff Cafe, which opened under new management in April, 1948,  "Mrs. Lee C. Taylor, specializing in Pit Barbecue, Fried Rabbit, and Home Made Pies".  

Today Mulligan's Pub is here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

408 Water Street

ca 1988, Kerr County Historical Commission collection

This house at 408 Water Street was surveyed for the Texas Historical Commission in 1973.  At that time it was described as a "highly ornate Carpenter Gothic of the Late Victorian era." It was said to the  "first frame ell-shaped Victorian cottage. " The description also indicates there was a rear addition, put on before 1973.  The house was remodeled in September 1983.

I had speculated that this house may have been moved to this lot. My reasoning for why is below.

Thanks to Mary Lee Jobes Stewart, I have learned that this house was indeed moved. Her mother Alice Domingues Jobes said that the house was originally on the Louis Schreiner property (where the Butt-Holdsworth library is now).  Mrs. Jobes remembered that the house was cut in two and part moved to this lot.  After looking at Sanborn maps, I now know that it was next to the long building at 433 Water Street that is sometimes referred to at the old Schreiner bowling alley.  That building was moved to 415 Clay in 201l, is now called the Dietert Mercantile, and is once again a retail building.

This house appears on the 1904 Sanborn map as a residential property.  In front of it was the old Dietert Mercantile building. The house and store building are at the foot of Quinlan Street. Sometime around 1916 the house was moved to 408 Water Street  so that a new addition could be put on the back of the Dietert Mercantile building.  At this time the mercantile building became the Schreiner's private bowling alley and a rock fireplace was added.
I am still not sure of the age of this house, but it predates 1904, and is possibly as old as the 1884 Dietert Mercantile building. 

Here is my reasoning for why I thought this house had been moved here:
In 1915 Charles Schreiner sold the lot this house sits on, and the adjoining one, to Dr. William Lee Secor, wife Hattie Secor, and W. L. Council for $550 (an average of $275 each). This price suggests these were vacant lots.
In 1920 Council and the Secors sold just the one lot where this house is to Dr. J. D. Jackson for $3000.  The most reasonable explanation for the large increase in price is that a building now sat on the lot.  Wm. L. Council was a builder and could have erected this building, however he had a distinctive style, one quite different from this house. In addition, by 1915 or so this Victorian style was fading in popularity.

The house has been a commercial property since 1984.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Story of a Shared Wall: Grape Juice and the Rialto

Construction began on this retail building at 623 and 625 Water Street in late 1963.  The Rose Shop, a florist, moved from 304 Main Street into 623 Water Street, the space now occupied by Grape Juice, in February 1964. The Rose Shop was here some 40 years.
The other half the building, 625 Water Street, now called Gather by Grape Juice, housed a number of retail shops over the years.  This building replacing an old house that had seen much service as the home of many small businesses. You can see the corner of that house in the photo below.

While at the time I write this most of the building is not quite 50 years old, a portion of it is. And that is really the story.
Between Grape Juice and the Herring Printing Co. is a parking lot which is the former site of the Rialto Theater, shown here.  The outside wall of 623 Water Street that runs along the parking lot was originally part of the Rialto, erected in 1938. When the new building was erected, it was simply attached to the theater building instead of constructing a new wall. As a result, when the theater was taken down, this one wall survived. The former exterior portion of the wall of the theater now faces the interior of the restaurant and wine shop.  Look carefully at the hollow tile wall of the theater.  The next time you go to Grape Juice you will see the same blocks in the wall.

Today along the outside wall can be seen the outline of the stairs that went to the balcony--a reminder of the segregation era.  During the unfortunate Jim Crow era of enforced segregation, the balcony was the only place in the theater blacks could sit to watch a movie.
The Rialto was demolished in 1974.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Luis' Place

Although most of the old commercial buildings are gone, and the few remaining are mostly shuttered, Francisco Lemos Street was once the bustling heart of Kerrville's Mexican community. This building at 325 Francico Lemos Street was Luis' Place, owned by the Espinosa family.   It was a restaurant, and also offered billiards and dominoes.
It was in business by 1933 and continued until at least 2002.  The last mention in the newspaper is when the restaurant held a fundraiser for victims of the July 2002 river flood.

Before Luis' Place there was a restaurant called El Felix that may have been at this location. It ran ads in the Kerrville Mountain Sun in January and early February 1933, then disappeared from the record.
It advertised thus: "El Fenix Restaurant and Grocery, Lemos Street--opposite Castillo's.  Theo, well known cook, will have charge of the kitchen.  Mexican dishes served at exceptionally low prices."

Castillo's general store, which was originally at 306 Lemos, moved to 328 Lemos in 1931 putting it directly across from this building, thus my thinking that El Fenix may have become Luis' Place.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Max Grona House

This house at 328 Jefferson Street, corner of Hays Street, was built 1890 for Max Grona, blacksmith and wheelwright.   
ca 1988--View from Jefferson Street--Kerr County Historical Commission Collection
Born in Germany, Max Grona came to Texas at the age of two. His parents worked on a ranch near Fredericksburg, where he learned his trade. 
Grona settled in Kerrville where he became a respected member of the community.  He was elected a Kerrville city alderman in 1896 and again in 1908.
His shop on Water Street, known as Grona & Ely, was forced to close in 1926 when the Bluebonnet Hotel was built on the site.  Unwilling to retire, he moved his shop behind his home.  According to his obituary, his health began to fail, so he was unable to do much work.  However, the new shop was a favorite spot for old friends to gather to reminisce and play dominoes.  He died in 1939 at the age of 83 and is buried at Glen Rest.

It is now the Board of Realtors office. Architectural features include an arched dining room entry, Doric columns and a Greek revival style.  It was restored in 1984 under Mike Walker, architect.
ca 1988--View from Hays Street, Kerr County Historical Commission Collection

2011--View from Hays Street
A picture of Max Grona's new blacksmith shop--the one behind his house where the dominoes games took place--can be seen at Joe Herring's blog at

Saturday, September 29, 2012

1718-1720 Water Street

Constructed no later than winter of 1928, this building at the corner of Water and H Streets is currently vacant.  It has had two different house numbers in its history--1718 and 1720 Water.
A commercial building with attached living quarters, the roofline of a small house can be seen.

In January 1928, Arthur K. Hammond and his wife sold this plot of land to J. R. Jennings. The first newspaper record of a building on this lot is in March 1928, when Sparkman's Kerrville Gulf Filling Station is mentioned in a newspaper ad.  By May 1929, Florence Robinson, a widow, had taken over the business, which she called Sparkman Place.
The 1930 census shows that she rented the property at 1720 Water Street for $20 a month. Living with her were two sons, Bowman and Guy, as well as a boarder, James Trainer, proprietor of a filling station. This no doubt was the filling station she operated.
In October the same year the Kerrville Fish and Oyster Market opened here. The fish market may have been an adjunct to the gas station.
In September 1932 she bought the land that lay under her business from J. R. Jennings. The property was sold three years later and had several owners afterwards.

In early October, 1934, a young boy by the name of Gerald Eric Vallier, whose family then lived here, dashed into Water Street into the path of a moving car.  He died of his injuries a few days later and was buried on his fourth birthday, October 10, 1934. Within about a year his parents moved to a house on Broadway.
Over the next three decades the property was offered for rent or sale several times, sometimes as a store and filling station with attached living quarters, and sometimes as a five room house with sleeping porch. It appears that during most of this time, the business operated as a corner store and filling station with the family living behind the store.

In 1965 Roy Pruneda made additions to the building and opened the Acapulco Restaurant, later known as El Azteca.  The restaurant closed about 1993 and was followed by a series of other Mexican restaurants.

Its most recent use was the Bandidos Motorcycle Clubhouse, 2005-2006.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

213 C Street

This tiny house was the home of Leonard LeBlanc and family from 1934 to 1942. A native of Louisiana, he was a ward attendant at the government hospital (now the VA Hospital).

In 1934, Leonard LeBlanc bought the property from the heirs of Thomas Frayne for $400. He appears to have bought vacant land and then built this house on it.

In 1940 the house was valued at $700. He lived here with his wife Ena and four children, ages 2 through 11. Another child was born later that year, making 7 people living in this house!

In 1942 they sold the house to Milton Rabelais and his wife, who lived next door at 215 C.

Today it is a commercial property.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

719 Water Street

This building, now Baublit's, was originally part  of the Arcadia and was divided later.
Many original features of the Arcadia Theater, including the tile floor, are visible in this shop.

The floor tiles, shown here, were Tarascan-made in Patzcauro, Michoacan, Mexico.

The original tile floor
I've been told that at one time this was the entrance to the Cascade Pool.

Above the base of the stairs to the second floor is a hand-painted sign for the Guadalupe Cafe.  This was the outside wall for the popular restaurant before the theater was erected in 1926.  The Guadalupe Cafe closed in 1932.
The Cafe building was two story.  A door to access that second story is visible today outside.

The first business to occupy this space was the Arcadia Coffee Nook, which opened July 1, 1926, Mrs. Nita Ahrenbeck, owner.
She sold the business to Mr. and Mrs. Roy Morris in September, 1927, who began to advertise "Special Mexican Dinners And Mexican Dishes Every Saturday".  The cafe closed in early 1928.

It was followed by the Revigator sales office.  In the Kerrville Mountain Sun, March 29, 1928, appeared the following announcement: "We Are Permanently Located in the Arcadia Theatre Building (Ground Floor) Will Open Friday, March 30th.  You Are Invited to Come in and Drink (Free) Radio-Active Water From the Re-vig-a-tor at All Times. Radium Ore Re-Vig-a-tor Sales Co. of Kerr County, A. L. Butler, Rep."

The Radium Ore Revigator was a pseudo-medical device consisting of a ceramic water crock lined with radioactive materials.  Water was stored overnight then consumed the next day.  It was claimed to treat a wide range of conditions such as senility, arthritis, and flatulence.

The building when it housed Custer's Last Lunch Stand
A variety of other businesses operated here later, including Kerrville Realty in the 1940s and 1950s, followed by Meek Real Estate until 1973.
In 1974 Ken & Mary's "Now" Shop moved in and was here until January 1979, followed by The Peddler's Cart craft shop.  A series of lunch places with catchy names such as Custer's Last Lunch Stand (1983-1991), Water Street Baking Co. (1991-1994), and Your Favorite Hero (1994-about 1996) followed.  It has been home to Baublit's Jewelers since 1998.