Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Schreiner Cash and Carry Grocery

What we think of as the Schreiner Store building is actually several buildings erected over many years.  This art deco building at 214 Earl Garrett, now home to Schreiner Goods, was erected in 1936 for the Schreiner cash and carry grocery.
Schreiner's original cash and carry grocery, which opened in 1926, was in the basement of the building at the corner of Water and Earl Garrett Streets.  In 1926 the cash and carry grocery was a fairly new concept.  Prior to the development of "cash and carry", customers used to call in or deliver their grocery orders to the store, the groceries would be charged to the customer's account, and then delivered later in the day.  As cars became more common, stores moved to a cash and carry concept, whereby customers would select groceries from the shelves themselves, pay cash, rather than on credit, in order to save money and then carry their groceries home themselves.  When the Schreiner grocery department closed in 1963, the hardware department moved in. The department store closed in 2007.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cascade Pool and the Old Swimmin' Hole

Now that summer's here, I may not be posting as often.  It's time to hit the water and have fun in the sun at my favorite swimmin' hole. 

Before I get the inner tubes out though, I want to tell you about the Cascade Pool.

From 1929 to 1959 there was a beautiful swimming pool right downtown atop the bluff of the Guadalupe River.  
photo from Kerr County Historical Commission collection
Known as the Cascade Swimming Pool, it opened in 1929 to great fanfare.  The pool was privately owned for the first 5 years.  Then 1934, the Kerrville Amusement Co., which also owned the Arcadia Theatre, decided not to open the pool due to poor patronage the previous years.  I suspect that having a beautiful river that provided plenty of free swimming spots was part of the reason.  This was, after all, the midst of the Great Depression. The city came to the rescue, and took it over as a public pool.  The last season for the Cascade was 1959.  On October 4, 1959, The Kerrville Times reported that the pool would not be available the next summer.  The Chas. Schreiner Bank owned the property and planned  to enlarge its building.  The plans included the pool area.

The Cascade sat in an area approximately where the Bank of America and this area of the parking lot at the foot of Earl Garrett Street are now.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Turtle Creek School

School's out for our family, so I thought I would share a couple of photos from the old one-room Turtle Creek School.  The board and batten school building is located on Upper Turtle Creek Road some eight miles south of Kerrville.

This is the second Turtle Creek school.  The original school opened in 1869 in an old windowless log cabin.  This larger building was erected in the mid-1880s. In 1900 it was expanded and a stage added. Students attended through 7th grade, then went to Kerrville. Classes were held here until 1958 at which time the trustees voted to close the school and send all the students to Kerrville.
The school sits on a bluff above Turtle Creek. The water source for many years was a spring at the base of the bluff.  Boys were assigned the task of climbing down to collect water in buckets for the students' use during the day.

For many decades it was only public building in the community, so was used for social events, church services, and elections.  It served as a voting place for about 120 years. Today it continues to serve as a community center.

One group that has met here on occasion is Turtle Creek Sewing Circle, which was organized in 1926 and is thought to be the oldest social club in Kerr County.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tomlinson Building

The Tomlinson Building at 223-225 Earl Garrett Street, was erected in 1947 in the Streamline Moderne style. It was built as an investment for S. P. Tomlinson of Brady, Texas, by A. E. Archer and Sons.  It was reported in the newspaper that Tomlinson's parents had lived in Kerrville for many years, until they were too old to live alone and had moved to Brady.
The building was divided into two stores.  The first two tenants were Ben Franklin Stores and Federated Department Store.

The Tomlinson Building replaced the Varner Furniture Store, which had stood here for many years.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Old Post Office

This art deco building at 228 Earl Garrett Street served as Kerrville's Post Office from 1936 to 1998 when it moved to its new location across the river. It is now home to the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center.

In January 21, 1926, the Kerrville Mountain Sun reported that the Chamber of Commerce heard a report that  Kerrville "had a fine chance to get an appropriation through Congress at this term for the construction of [a federal building]."  In June of that year the Hill View Times opined that "too much politics" was keeping Kerrville from having a new Federal Building.
March 7, 1929, the headline in the Kerrville Mountain Sun read "Kerrville is Included in Recommendations to Congress for New Government Buildings."  It was not to be.

Every year the local newspapers reported that Kerrville's new Federal Building was in the federal budget, and this would finally be the year.  It was not until December, 1935, that ground was finally broken.  
The architect was Ayres & Ayres, San Antonio.  The contractor was Templeton-Cannon.
The Post Office finally moved here from  rented space on Water Street in 1936, more than 10 years after the first announcement of a new post office for Kerrville.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Looking East

Something a little different today--a rooftop view looking east away from downtown across Washington Street.
This is a newspaper clipping from 1956.  The photo was taken from the Blue Bonnet Hotel on Water Street. The Catholic church is in the middle on the left. There is a building next to it with three garage bays.  I have been told that at this time the priest lived in a second story apartment over the garage. Also visible are the convent and Notre Dame School. In the far background you can see Tivy High School.
In the foreground is a building with a long roof.  In 1956 this was used by the Kerrville Bakery. The front part is the remnant of the old Dixie Theater.  Next to it, on the corner, is the H. Noll Building, which in 1956 was the Harris-Darby Appliance Company "Your Firestore Store".  You could shop, quite conveniently, for other goods while your auto was being serviced.

UPDATE  and correction from fellow history buff Bryant Saner who attended Notre Dame School 1955-1961:  This former student says that while the building with the three garage bays was for the priest, he didn't live upstairs.  It seems the upstairs of this building was a meeting room and cafeteria for the school.  The priest lived and had offices behind the garage.
And for clarification, the large rambling 3-story building at the upper right of the photo was the convent.  The school sat between the convent and the rectory.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Site of the Chaney Building

The building with the green awnings is now The Galleria.  The portion to the left, next to the Weston Building, is where the the Chaney Building stood at 802 Water Street from 1923 to 1964 when it was razed for bank expansion. The rest of the building includes the old First State Bank Building, which dates to 1910.

In 1923 R. H. Chaney erected a two story building at this location. In 1927 the Kerrville Sunshine Society, described as a social and literary club, opened here. The newspaper reported, “George W. Walther, manager of the club announced that the new club would be conducted along the highest lines of refinement, and would be equipped with a recreation hall where members will have the privileges of playing billiards, pocket billiards, dominoes, chess and checkers.  The Kerrville branch of the International Sunshine Library, which Mr. Walther has conducted for the past 27 years, will be located in the rear of the club rooms, giving club members access to 500 volumes, as well as the latest issues of magazines and newspapers.
Membership in the club has been limited to 100 members who will be required to furnish good references.
The second floor of the Chaney Building has been remodeled and attractively arranged into club rooms. 
The club will remain closed on Sundays, the management has announced.”
I have heard reports that this was in actuality a private drinking club for gentlemen during Prohibition.  

In 1964 the Chaney building was razed for expansion of the First National Bank.
It can be seen in the photo below.  Look for the sign on the left that reads "Pool Dominos".

From the Kerr County Historical Commission collection

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dixie Theater Building

This is the old Dixie Theater Building (830-832 Water Street).  The first mention I can find of this theater is in the January 10, 1919, newspaper so it was probably erected shortly before then.   The Dixie had wooden bleachers and and a dirt floor. I have been told it was partly open air.  In the winter a large pot-bellied stove provided the heat.
In 1925 William Brice, owner of the Dixie, announced  he would be building a modern, up-to-date theater in the near future on the site of the Dixie.  He intended to build the theater around the existing one.  The Kerrville Mountain Sun reported “Mr. Brice states that of the three months necessary to build the new theater, it will only be necessary to close the show for from two to three weeks, as by the arrangement of the new building most of the work can be handled without interfering in the least with the regular programs.”  For whatever reason, he did not followed through on this plan and instead bought property in the 700 block of Water for his new Dixie theater, which would instead be named the Arcadia.
The Dixie  theater operated here from at least 1919 to 1929. In 1926, the facade was remodeled to a “modern” Spanish style.  When remodeled, two shops were in the entrance, a shoe shop and the Dixie Confectionery.  About 1929 the Dixie closed and remained shuttered for six years.  In 1935 it was rebuilt and reopened.  The rebuilt Dixie didn’t last long, because less than 3 years later, in 1938, the old Dixie Theatre building, which contained a fruit market, cafe, and electric shop,was sold.  Later, the area that had been the theatre was taken over by the Kerrville Bakery, with stores remaining along the street.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wide-Awake Garage

I want to write about this business because I love the name!
The Wide-Awake Garage was, according to a 1931 advertisement, located at the southern city limits on the San Antonio Road. It was across from the main entrance of Schreiner Institute (now Schreiner University).
Owned by Osman & Ward in June 1931, H. N. Luther & Son operated this business at the time of the Kerrville earthquake on August 16, 1931.  
It was open 24 hours a day--an unusual service at that time.
The building no longer exists.

The following business had similar description and location and was operating at the same time.  Is this the same business, or a different one very close by?  All were Texaco stations.

The Kerrville Times for June 4, 1931, reported that J. M. Roberts was moving his business to his new garage and electric shop on the San Antonio Road, just below the city. It was known as the J. M. Roberts Garage and Filling Station "Opposite last gate Schreiner Institute on the San Antonio Road".  They advertised they offered "Out of the High Rent District Prices".  Roberts Garage was in existence at least into 1937.

From The Kerr County Historical Commission Collection

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Baehre Building

This is the Baehre Building, 203-209 Earl Garrett Street, which was erected in 1928 and remodeled in 1998.  This is said to be the location for the original biergarten for the Barlemann Saloon.  While that may be true, I haven’t been able to prove that yet.  There were frame buildings here (shown below) that were razed to erect this building. The awning is original and has pressed tin underside and copper flashing.
In the newspaper this building was referred to as the Weston building. When it was constructed, a foundation to carry a second story was laid. The second story was never built.
The first occupant was Roberts Electric Shop, followed, in 1931, by Davis-McHoes, Inc. Electrical Contractor and Electrical Appliances.

A later business here (1936-1942) was John Yarger's Sanitary Barber "Ladies especially invited", which offered baths for 15 cents.  "Shower or Tub Always Clean"

Earl Garrett Street prior to 1926.  The Baehre Building stands where the two small wooden buildings are on the right between the Masonic Building and the Weston Building.
Photo from the Kerr County Historical Commission collection

Monday, May 14, 2012

711 Water Street

This narrow building was erected about 1925.  From 1926 to 1932 it was home to Bill's Sandwich Shop, run by Bill Saludis, who later owned the Manhattan Cafe next door.  In the 1930s a series of small businesses were housed here.
From March 1940 until early 1950, this was George P. Bevill real estate.  Bevill moved his office to Main Street just a few weeks before he died in a car accident east of Comfort May 25, 1950.
The next occupant was the ladies' fashion shop Mode o'day, which was in this location from 1950 to sometime after 1982. It was the business with the longest occupancy.
Additional retail businesses followed and continue today.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Famous Door

I will return to exploring downtown buildings, but today I want to talk about a building I am currently researching outside downtown.  This is the Famous Door Cafe, located at 215 West Barnett Street.  This building was in existence by June, 1929, so it is at least 83 years old. It MAY be older.  Oral history states it is closer to 100 years old.   

undated photo
The first record in the newspapers of a business here is in the Kerrville Mountain Sun, June 6, 1929, when Kelley's Cafe is mentioned in an advertisement as an agent for Pennant S.A.E. Motor Oils.  Henry Kelley was also listed as a Pierce agent.  In addition to the cafe and grocery, there were variety of other businesses based here over the years, including a taxi stand (phone  A R T H U R)  and a barber shop.   
In September, 1933, Kelley's Cafe and Grocery was one of the first eight applicants in Kerrville for a retail beer license at the end of Prohibition, and the only one not on Water Street.

In 1934 Henry Kelley hired Edward Bratcher, cook at the Blue Bonnet Hotel, to work for him and later sold him the business.  It was Kelley's Cafe until some time after mid-1939 when Bratcher took over the business and the name changed to Bratcher's Recreation Hall, Grocery and Cafe (1940), then Bratcher's Place (1942), and later to the Famous Door "Famous for Friends, Food, and Fun".  At the time it close in 1996 it was said to be the oldest black-owned business in Kerrville.  Probably true.  The property today is the oldest black-owned commercial property in Kerrville. 

A. L. "Pinkie" Lewis, a white man, owned the property for many years, but eventually sold it to Ed Bratcher.  It appears from the deed records that Lewis financed the purchase, probably because banks wouldn't lend an African-American the money back then.

Ed Bratcher was well respected in Kerrville. As an example, In 1942, he was chairman of the "Negro celebration" for the Infantile Paralysis Foundation, held at Bratcher's Place   The dance was part of President Roosevelt's Diamond Jubilee Birthday Ball. The whites held a dance at the Goss' Place on the Old Junction Road.  The Mexican community had yet a third dance.  Separate celebrations were held because this was during the segregation era when white and black were forbidden by law to mix.   

Newspapers items and city directories document the use of this building as a cafe, grocery, and dance hall.

This is said to be the first fully racially integrated business in Kerrville, that white teens would come to hear good music and get some great food, and Ed Bratcher would allow them to stay as long as there was no trouble or until the sheriff came and told them to go home.  I don't know if it's possible, but I would like to more fully document this. Oral histories are great, but written documentation is best.   
I am also looking for the names and proof of the some of the bands who performed here.  Three names I have are: Max Range, who performed with several bands, including the Tradition Band from San Antonio; Bobby "Blue" Bland--originally from Seguin TX; and Punty Guitar and his band, an R&B artist/group from San Antonio. Punty Guitar performed with more than one band.

I plan to update this page as I get new information.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

713 Water Street

This building at 713 Water Street was constructed in 1923, three years before the Arcadia. It was originally home to the Cecil Robinson Clothing Company, followed shortly by Poole & Clark men's furnishings. 
The Bon Ton, a ladies' clothing shop was here briefly, then in February, 1929, Bill Saludis bought the building for the future use of his restaurant. He leased the space out for several years before opening the Manhattan Cafe in December 1932.  Earlier in the year, he bought the Guadalupe Cafe, located a few doors down, and after a brief time, consolidated the Guadalupe Cafe and Bill's Sandwich Shop into this building.  Saludis turned it into a showplace.  It featured black and white tile, long counters with shiny chrome stools and white clad tables. 

 The distinctive black and white tiles still adorn the outside the building.

When Prohibition ended in 1933, the Manhattan Cafe was one of the first businesses in Kerrville to obtain a license to sell.

In 1938, after a renovation, the Manhattan Cafe proudly announced it was now the first air-conditioned building in Kerrville.  The newspaper reported that at this time the waitresses were outfitted in "smart, tailor-made uniforms, which added to the attractiveness of the place."  

The restaurant continued under new ownership from 1941 into the 1950s. A series of other small businesses followed, including a florist shop and a clothing store.

Shown here (to the right in this photo) is the building in its original appearance when it housed Poole & Clark, Inc.

Friday, May 11, 2012

First State Bank

Behind this contemporary facade lies the 1910 First State Bank Building. Yes, this building at 804 Water Street dates to 1910 and is therefore more than a century old. Some original details are contained within.

The First State Bank moved from its earlier location on Tchoupitoulas Street (now Sidney Baker) to this spot in 1910.  In 1964 the bank tore down the neighboring building at 802 Water Street, expanded, and modernized, covering over original details.  As the saying goes, you can't judge a book by its cover.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Old Bakery

Old Bakery 
Another century old building downtown, the left half of this building at 824 Water Street was erected in 1890 for a feed store. It was later converted to a bakery known as the Kerrville Bakery, by J. O. Ahnert.   C. W. Wolfmueller bought it in 1922 and expanded the bakery. It expanded again later when Ike Huber owned the business.
After Mr. Ahnert sold the building, the following appeared in the Kerrville Mountain Sun of February 25, 1922,  “John Ahnert left again for Dallas in search of another bakery opening.  He bitterly regrets having relinquished Kerrville, because he can hardly find another Texas town with as good a school as ours.”

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Davis Building

The Davis Building at 707 Water Street is more than 100 years old.  Erected in 1909, it was known as the Rawson Building until 1939, when the building was sold and renamed.
In 1890 W. H. Rawson purchased the Peavy Drug Store and a frame building on this site.  He operated his business in that building until 1908, when it was torn down and this new stone building erected.  Rawson's Drug moved in August, 1909. The building was expanded in 1924 to accommodate a growing business.

On August 30, 1924, Rawson's threw open their doors to their newly remodeled and expanded store and invited the community to come and see the new store and new soda fountain.  Everything at the new soda fountain was to be free between 4 and 6 p.m.  During that time a total of 2,650 services were provided.  As the newpaper reported, "This does not mean that 2,650 people were served individually, as numbers of people were served more than once, especially the kiddies, many of whom received five and six ice cream cones each."

L. W. Mc Coy operated the drug store from 1938-40, followed by Fred Drug Company 1940-41. In 1943 it became Hart's Pharmacy.
Established in 1927 as the Blue Bonnet Drug Store when it was in the Blue Bonnet Hotel, Hart's Pharmacy moved about a half block west to this location in 1943.  Family lore states that during the move, they piled the goods in shopping carts and walked them to the new location.
After the move the store changed name to Hart's Pharmacy, which operated until 1974. It was sold one more time--to Steve Ackman, who, in 1985, moved across the river, ending more than 75 years of pharmacy services here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

715 Water Street

UPDATE:  More digging in old newspapers revealed that this brick building was constructed in the spring of 1909 by Davey & Schott for Charles Schreiner.  The first occupant was William Boeckmann and Co., who opened a recreation hall here.  It was "designed to be a high-class place of resort and innocent amusement."
This building at 715 Water Street, now home to the Kerrville Main Street office, is another of the many downtown buildings that is more than a century old. I don't have an exact date--there are gaps in the historical record, but we know it was built sometime between 1904 and 1910.  In 1910 this building appears on the Sanborn-Perrin fire insurance map as a pool hall and restaurant.  
On August 10, 1910, the following ad ran in the Kerrville Mountain Sun: " Pastime Parlor. J. H. Jones, Proprietor. Billiards, Pool, Dominoes, Auto-Motor pictures. Lunch and Short Orders. Water Street Kerrville."  There were two properties on Water Street in 1910 described as a billiards hall and restaurant. One was Geo. Walther's amusement hall in the 800 block of Water Street.  For that reason, I believe this to be the Pastime Parlor.

UPDATE: I have come across additional material.  While it is certain that this building served as a pool hall almost to the time Self took it over, it may have remained in Boeckmann's hands the whole time.  There are gaps in the newspaper record and what is in the paper isn't clear.

About 1919 A. E. Self moved his jewelry store from Earl Garrett Street to this location on Water Street.  Said to be the first jeweler in Kerrville, A. E. Self's business began when he purchased an existing business in the corner of the Rock Drug store in 1903. [The Rock Drug building is in the 800 block of Water and is part of the telephone company building.] In time he moved his business to a wooden building next to the Masonic Building on Earl Garrett, then here.

In 1926 it was remodeled to conform to the Arcadia Theatre next door. 
Self's was not just a jeweler, but also offered optometry and film processing services. Blanche Self (later Blanche Self Hall) was the first film processor in Kerrville.
Self's was here until October 1938, when the store moved to 723 Water. A series of small businesses, non-profits, and government agencies have occupied the space since.

For those really interested, the partial list of tenants includes: the National Farm Loan Association, Garrett Insurance, Charles Henry Realty, Democratic Party Headquarters (1940 election), Kerr County Aid Association, VFW committee during World War II to help young men qualify as air cadets, Charles W. Henry real estate, Ware's Shoes, and Karen's House of Fashion.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Weston Building

The Weston Building, on the corner of Water and Earl Garrett, was erected in 1890 by Charles Barlemann.  This Italianate style stone building, designed by Alfred Giles, was home to the Ranch Saloon. The saloon had a rough reputation.  It was the site of fights and at least one murder--that of Texas Ranger Tom Carson.
In 1897 it changed hands. An advertisement in The Kerrville Paper, September 18, 1897, read “Old Jeff’s Corner ... Formerly the popular Ranch Saloon in the Barlemann Building.
Choice Wines, Liquors, Beer, and Cigars.  Billiard and Pool Tables in Connection. ...  Frank Jeffries, proprietor."  

In 1900 Charles and Mac Weston purchased the building and business. It is known today as the Weston Building today because of the "Weston" name that appears in tile at the corner.

An odd item appeared in the Kerrville Mountain Sun on Apr 4, 1902.  "Jack Rees has moved his stock of furniture into the Barleman Store.
The Co-operative Association have now the whole lower story of the rock building on the corner.  They are filling it up with a very large stock of goods."

It doesn't appear to have been a furniture store very long because by May 17, 1902, the Ranch Saloon was again advertising its wares.
In 1912 M. F. Weston and E. Schwethelm sold the Ranch saloon to J. C. "Jack" Rees.  Weston and Schwethelm still owned the Favorite saloon and continued in business there.

It remained a saloon, and very popular gathering place until Prohibition arrived in 1920 and the saloon was forced to close.  It seems to have vacant for two years until it was leased in 1922 to Richard Chaney who opened his combination confectionery and taxidermy in the lower floor, shown here.  You can see why this was such a popular spot for kids!

After Chaney’s closed, there was a sport shop, then a shoe shop called the Booterie.  After the Booterie closed the building sat empty for years.  Finally, in 1995 the building wasrestored and now houses the popular restaurant Francisco's.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


The HEB on Main Street in Kerrville is the sixth location of Kerrville's hometown grocery store.

The very first location of the store that became HEB was in this house, below, in the 800 block of Main Street. Florence Butt opened her first store here in 1905. The family lived upstairs.
On December 26, 1911, Florence Butt moved her store to a busier location in the rock Masonic Building on Earl Garrett Street and advertised "Mrs. C. C. Butt.  The Sanitary Grocery Store".  This was the second location.

On December 30, 1921 the C. C. Butt Grocery ran an advertisement in the Kerrville Mountain Sun announcing the store was converting to a cash and carry system. "We will discontinue our delivery service, except that we will deliver orders amounting to $5.00 or more each afternoon after 4 o'clock."  It also stated "We will sell on a very small margin of profit because our business expense will be very low ... and we know that we can save you more than 10 per cent on your monthly grocery bill."

In June, 1925, a Piggly Wiggly store opened in the building at 233 Earl Garrett--shown below, just a few doors down from the C. C. Butt grocery store.  Florence's son Howard, who by this time was running the business, bought the Piggly Wiggly 5 months later and announced that he would be consolidating the two stores into one. This, then, was the location of  C. C. Butt Piggly Wiggly for the next ten years--the third location.
 In August, 1936, a big new C. C. Butt Piggly Wiggly opened at 825 Water Street--the fourth location, about where One Schreiner Center is today. It included a parking lot for 100 cars.  Although opened as a Piggly Wiggly, the store was owned by the H. E. Butt Grocery Company.  HEB owned a number of Piggly Wigglys in Texas.   In February, 1944, the name of all the H. E. Butt-owned Piggly Wiggly stores was changed to HEB.

In June, 1954, the fifth store opened at the corner of Water and Quinlan Streets, where Hastings is today.  I don't have a picture if that store yet.

In March, 1984, the HEB store on Main Street opened, so that is number 6 in the line of Kerrville stores.

And now we have another HEB on Sidney Baker South.

Fawcett Furniture Building

 One of several buildings in downtown Kerrville that is more than 100 years old, Fawcett Furniture Building was erected at 820 Water Street in 1907 and had several later additions. Like the H. Noll Stock Co. building, it is made of rusticated stone.

Early undated photo

Initially the upper story was used for a meeting hall, but by 1914 the furniture business had begun to take over. In 1919 an addition tripled the size of the building. A final expansion in 1924 brought the building to its current size. By 1940 W. A. Fawcett Furniture was the largest furniture store between San Antonio and San Angelo. 

W. A. Fawcett served as Mayor of Kerrville 1940-1944. While he was mayor the airport runway, then between Kerrville and Ingram, was being expanded for Army Air Force pilot training.  Land was being obtained from local farmers for this purpose.  One farmer was so angry he and his brother accosted Fawcett outside the store, attacked and beat him and bit a piece of his left ear off. The ear was found and successfully reattached at the local hospital.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Former Memorial Library Building

Before there was the Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library,  an earlier building, in the 300 block of Water Street, served as the public library.  The earlier library, a rock building, is being renovated for office space for Crenwelge Motors. 

Like many buildings in Kerrville, this one is older than many realize.  It was constructed in 1938.

In July 1938 D. W. Starkweather bought three lots on Water Street that became the church property.  On Aug 4, 1938, the Kerrville Times reported the Pentecostal pastor, D. W. Starkweather, trustee, obtained a building permit for "300 Water Street, rock veneer building, 38x58 feet; $2,500." 

Then September 8, 1938, Kerrville Times ran a story about the new Pentecostal Church.  They were having a pie and cake sale to raise funds to finance the building of the church, which was then under construction at the corner of Water and Hays St.    (Can you imagine paying a mortgage by selling baked goods?)

By February, 1939, the Pentecostal Church was meeting here, so the building must have been finished.  The Pentecostal Church continued to meet here until 1958, when the Library Board purchased it for the new Memorial Library.

When the library moved to the new building on the river in August 1967, the rock building returned to its original purpose as a church and was home first to the Mormon Church then to Conquest Christian Center.

H. Noll Stock Company

You may be surprised to learn this building at 838 Water Street is more than 100 years old.  It was erected about 1906 for the H. Noll Stock Company, a general store.  It was built of rusticated concrete, shown below.

 Rusticated concrete was made to look like stone and was very popular from about 1905 to 1930.  This is not the only building downtown have this material.
The H. Noll Co-operative Stock Company operated on a co-operative profit-sharing plan, which seems to be similar to REI today. 
It advertised thus: "Save your rebate checks until you have $100 worth, return same to the Company, who will issue to you a $5.00 Stock Certificate.  Remember that stockholders are entitled to 5 per cent rebate on purchases, besides the annual dividend on stock.
Under our system every customer shares in the profits he helps to make; it’s a proposition that is worth considering. Become a stockholder and enjoy the benefits of co-operation. The more stockholders, the larger will be the dividends
By this plan families can save from $15.00 to $20.00 on their purchases.”

Henry Noll died in 1926.  In 1927 his family closed the business.
Saenger’s M-System Store next opened here.  The fixtures were in black and white and arranged in the shape of the letter M, making it convenient for shoppers to see all the merchandise and serve themselves.  Self-service was a new, modern concept in the 1920s.
It was shortly followed by Neely’s Pay-Way Grocery “the Cleanest Store in Town”. A series of other businesses followed, including auto service.  More on that another time.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Camp Yard Fence

This old fence is visible from Sidney Baker Street.  It stands at the top of the bluff behind the 700 block of Water Street. It is said to date to the time, prior to 1925, when a camp yard stood where the Arcadia is now.  There were several hotels in town, but many of the cowboys and ranchers who came to town to transact business could save money by bedding down in their wagons or on the ground in the camp yard.

1882 Schreiner Store

It is easy to walk past familiar places every day and not notice important details.  This is an aerial photo taken of downtown Kerrville before Peterson Hospital was removed. The white-roofed building in the center is the Schreiner store.  The arrow in the photo above points out a cleft in the roofline.  That cleft marks the outline of the 1882 store building.   The outline of the first stone building is visible today on Earl Garrett Street.

In 1881 Charles Schreiner hired architect Alfred Giles to build a new rock building to replace the original wooden building. The building was later greatly expanded. By1898, the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps label this area "office". The arrow on the photo to the left points to the quoins (corner blocks) that mark the old building. Note the slight change in the color  and quality of the stone.  You'll see also that the roofline was lower than it is today. So now, next time you walk past the Schreiner building with a friend, you can share your architectural knowledge!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Favorite Saloon Building

This Italianate-style building at 709 Water Street is very likely the oldest building in town.  It is thought to be an early design by architect Alfred Giles, who also designed the Charles Schreiner Mansion and the Masonic Building. Construction was started in 1874 by F. J. Hamer.
William Heuermann bought the building on March 2, 1876, and opened a saloon and grocery store.  Later known as the Favorite Saloon, operated by Mack Weston and Ernest Schwethelm, it continued as a saloon until Prohibition closed its doors on January 1, 1920.  Since then a series of retail businesses have occupied the space.
It was restored in 1995.

The Arcadia Theatre

Located at 717 Water Street, this is the iconic Arcadia, one of the most familiar buildings in Kerrville.  This historic theatre opened June 20, 1926. The theatre included a small stage and an orchestra pit with a pipe organ. 
Something not many people know is that the  Arcadia got its name in a contest.  Over 150 suggested titles were submitted by local citizens.  The name was picked from the list by a disinterested committee. William Toups was the one suggesting the name selected.  The Kerrville Mountain Sun reported that several individuals suggested the name “Arcade,” but Mr. Toups was the only one suggesting the name Arcadia. 
 In addition to movies, the Arcadia hosted live radio and stage productions in its early years. Notable entertainers such as humorist Will Rogers, singer Elvis Presley, musician Liberace, and comedians Bob Hope and Jack Benny performed here.
Agnes Colley, who was the organist at the First Presbyterian Church and the music teacher at the Scofield School for Girls, was also the organist at the theater during the silent movie era.
More than 1000 people jammed the theatre opening night--a large percentage of Kerrville’s population.
The two-story building originally sported a mission style exterior.  Most of the original exterior trim was removed when the Arcadia was remodeled in 1948.  This was when the neon-lit marquee and tower and burgundy tile were installed. 
The theater closed in January, 1988.  It is currently undergoing renovations.

This ornate lintel, visible above the Coming Soon sign, is a remnant of the original facade, shown below.

And who was William J. Toups?  He was born 1899 in Texas, probably near Corpus Christi. In 1930 he lived with his wife Hattie at 504 Lytle Street, Kerrville, and worked as a battery man at a garage. 

How it began

When we first discovered Kerrville and the Texas Hill Country in 1999, we were charmed by the beauty of the hills and the river. It was later we discovered the charm extended to the built environment.  There are hundreds of historic buildings, commercial and residential, all over these hills. By "historic" I mean buildings more than 50 years old.
We moved here two years ago, and last year I took on a project to research the history of the buildings in downtown Kerrville with the hope that it would lead to historic signage and walking tours.  That research project has now expanded to other places in the county.  My goal here is share my research.  More to come.