Thursday, June 28, 2012

212 Clay Street

Now home to Voelkel Land Surveying, this building at 212 Clay Street (corner of Water Street), was erected in 1926 for G. S. Cone.  He operated a  Ford dealership here known as the Cone Car Co.  The architect was Adams & Adams of San Antonio; the contractor Clements & Gombert.  G.S. Cone sold his business in 1934.  It continued under new ownership for several more years. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

1028 Water Street

 The building that houses this restaurant at the corner of Water Street and A Street was originally a gas station.  Built by Rudolph Stehling, it opened in May, 1930, as a Gulf service station. It was a busy spot.  At that time this station was on the main road to San Antonio and to Medina.  The Sidney Baker Street bridge did not exist, so people going towards Medina, Bandera, or southern parts of the county crossed the river at what we now call the G Street bridge.
The photo below is dated June 15, 1932, when it was operated by Albertus McJimpsey.  It had a series of owners over the next several decades. 
The first mention of the building as  a restaurant was in March, 1998, when a story about Java Pump, a coffee house, appears in the newspaper. 
The final photo is a current view of the building from about the same angle and distance.  Note that many of the architectural details remain.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Heckler Building

This building at 225 Earl Garrett Street is the Heckler Building, renovated by Dell Sheftall several years ago.

The photo below shows what it looked like before its renovation.  It was purpose-built in 1948 for Heckler men's wear. When the building opened it was described as a concrete and tile building in an "attractive buff color, with a modernistic louvered design on the front of the second story."
When the building went up the newspaper reported on the crowds that watched the building go up brick by brick--a major source of entertainment in a small town.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Brown Building

Have you ever noticed the letter "B" in the corner trim work of this early art deco building at the corner of Main and Earl Garrett Streets? It was erected for W. B. Brown in 1926, so this a monogram.  
The original building on this corner was nearly destroyed by fire in December 1925, so Brown's primary goal in constructing this replacement building was to make it "fireproof".
The June 17, 1926, Kerrville Mountain Sun reported "Construction of the modern one-story, fire-proof store building for W. B. Brown at the corner of Earl Garrett and Main Streets will start in the next few days.  Architect’s plans for the Brown building include space for three stores and a drive-in filling station, to be built of reinforced concrete, brick and tile with a foundation for additional stories.  The contract was awarded Monday to W. C. Thrailkill of San Antonio."  Like the Bahre Building, this is another where the builders planned ahead for the possibility of expansion, although here too the second floor was never built.
The drive-in filling station, initially owned by R. A. Remschel, was on the corner. There is evidence of the gas station still visible. In the photo below, look at the telephone pole on the corner. You can see where the sidewalk is cut at an angle behind the pole.  That is where cars used to pull up to the gas pump.   

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Comparette House

I happened to be volunteering today at the Kerr County History Center when a lady came in very distressed about the condition of this beautiful house.  I decided to blog about it.  I too am worried about it.
The Comparette House is, since 1979,  a Recorded Texas Landmark, one of the earliest such in Kerr County.  It currently sits vacant.  Our visitor reported it is being vandalized.

Built in 1890 by S. W. and Laura Smith, this two-story Victorian at 1001 Jefferson Street was later the home of D. H. Comparette, organizer and manager of the Kerrville Telephone Company.  The Comparette family owned it from 1905 to 1977.  More recently it was"Joe's Jefferson Street Cafe" and now stands vacant.  It was rezoned in 2011 and has been proposed for conversion to apartments. The property is now for sale. It sits on the edge of both commercial and residential areas.  This lovely house is a very grand house by Kerrville standards.  It features fish-scale siding, Queen Anne porches, decorative facade, and gables.  I hope someone--soon--will come along who will take it on and restore it.

1988- Kerr County Historical Commission collection

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

703 Water Street

This one story addition to Pampell's was erected in 1928. There had been a one story building here earlier, but it was torn down and replaced with this new building. When it was constructed, the entire facade of Pampell's was redone in brown brick to provide a harmonious look to the front.  It was described at the time as being "Spanish style".  A. P. Rheiner & Son of San Antonio was the contractor.

Contrary to what you might think from the tiled floor sign at the entry, the first tenant was NOT a jeweler. It was Poole & Clark men's store, which moved to this new space in May, 1928.  After Poole & Clark closed, Williams-Heckler men's store was here until they moved to a purpose-built store on Earl Garrett Street in 1949.
The JEWELER sign on the entry tiles is from the time when Lewis Jewelry was here August 1949 until 1957.  In April 1957, Mr. and Mrs. Lee Roy Brehmer purchased Lewis' Jewelry Store, merged the two stores, and moved to the 703 Water Street location.  The store was now known as Brehmers' Jewelers. It was here into 1970.
A variety of other retail stores have been housed here since.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pampell's Opera House

Pampell's Opera House, located at 701 Water Street, is one of the most familiar buildings in downtown Kerrville, The historical marker says Pampell's was erected about 1895 as the M. V. [sic] Gregory Hotel and Store. However, I have learned from fellow history buff Lanza Teague that the building is probably older. According to his 1931 obituary, William V. and Julia Gregory purchased the lot at the corner of Water Street shortly after their marriage in 1880.  There was an existing building on it which they operated as a boarding house.  In a few years they expanded,  building a small hotel and grocery.  It is unclear from the obituary whether they added on to their existing building, or built an entirely new building. Family lore says the existing building was expanded. The photo at the bottom is said to have been taken between 1880 and 1890, so whether the building was replaced or added on, Pampell's is several years older that thought.

 John L. Pampell bought the hotel in 1901 and converted the upstairs into a theater and meeting space.  Access was by an outside stairway.  He didn't always run the theater himself, rather he sometimes leased it out. Other operators included Joe Jennings' Gayety Theater 1912-13 and John Sharfstein's Peoples Theatre in 1918.
This multi-purpose building even served as a skating rink.  On October 27, 1906, J. L. Pampell announced "I have reopened my skating rink in the Opera House. Rink will be open Friday and Saturday evenings and Saturday afternoons."
Downstairs Pampell manufactured candy, ice cream, and carbonated drinks. Later it became a pharmacy.

Originally a wood frame building, it was stuccoed in early1910 and received its current brick facade in 1928.
All three building facades are shown on this page.
Stucco Facade mid-1920s.  Kerr County Historical Commission Collection
Wood frame facade of Gregory Hotel, ca 1880-1890. Courtesy Lanza Teague

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Where was Orange Julius?

I have a puzzle for you today.
In 1931, musician Jimmie Rodgers opened an Orange Julius stand in Kerrville somewhere on Water Street, but where? Information in the newspapers is conflicting.  Do any of my readers know for certain?
Here are some clues:
The September 3, 1931 Kerrville Mountain Sun ran an ad for Orange Julius.  "Served for the first time, September 3 at 7 a.m. in Schreiner Building, next to Guadalupe Cafe."  [The Schreiner Building was a row of shops along Water Street between the old Schreiner Bank and the Arcadia Theatre.  It was called the Schreiner Building because Chas. Schreiner owned it.]
It was in a space "formerly part of the Guadalupe Cafe".
The following conflicting items appeared in the Kerrville Mountain Sun over the course of two years:
October 29, 1931, the address is given as 721 1/2 Water Street.
April 6, 1933,  "The Chief's Place" has opened at 719 Water Street in the "Former Orange Julius location".
August 17, 1933,  "Workmen are  ... remodeling the interior of a building at 721 Water Street. ... The building being remodeled formerly was occupied by an Orange Julius stand."

The Guadalupe Cafe was at 721 Water Street, which no longer exists.  719 is now Baublit's Jewelers.  So, was the Orange Julius stand at the entrance to the Arcadia Theatre, or was it cut out of a corner of the Gaudalupe Cafe?

My best guess is that the address is wrong for "The Chief's Place". Does anyone know for sure?

Friday, June 1, 2012

First in a series

Several buildings in downtown Kerrville have historical markers from either the National Register or the State of Texas Historical Commission.  Those buildings include Pampell's Opera House, the Guthrie Building, the Masonic Building, and the Schreiner Mansion.  The process to get those markers is arduous. In addition, there is a limit to how many will be approved each year.

Kerr County has such a rich history and many buildings worthy of marking.  Several months ago the Kerr County Historical Commission approved a project I have been part of to create our own local historical markers.  (Many other communities in Texas and across the country are already doing this. )
Today the first marker was unveiled.  It is on the Favorite Saloon building on Water Street, which currently houses Hill Country Living.   More markers will be going up in the coming months.
We wanted an attractive, eye-catching, easy-to-read design. I hope you agree that we have succeeded.
Please stop by and check it out!

I want to give special thanks to Rev. David Tritenbach and Dr. William Rector who helped to move this project from concept to reality.

218 Sidney Baker Street

While Kerrville has buildings that are older then they look, it also has buildings that are newer than they look.
This graceful building at 218 Sidney Baker Street, across from the new City Hall, went up in 1989 for the Radiation Therapy Treatment Center.  It was expanded in 1997 for the Kerrville Cancer Center.   Note that there are no doors on Sidney Baker Street.  Access is through the parking garage next door.