Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Mosty Brothers Nursery, Center Point

These photos were taken at the Mosty Brothers Nursery in Center Point.  Mosty Brothers Nursery started in Kerrville in 1897.  In 1908 a second location was added in Center Point.  The Kerrville location, primarily a retail operation, closed in 1985. The Center Point location is a wholesale business.

Water tank. Concrete base is original.
The large, two-story residence at the front of the property was built in 1927 in a pecan orchard at a final cost of about $12,000. The architect and contractor was W. W. Miller of Kerrville.  An elevated water tank, still in use, has been there since the earliest days.  There are smaller post-World War II residences; and greenhouses on the property date back more than 60 years. The business has been in continuous operation by one family for more than a century. During that time the Mostys have been innovators in developing new plant varieties and leaders in their industry’s trade and professional organizations. In 1936 Mosty Brothers Nurseries of Kerrville and Center Point won the contract to supply the landscaping used at the Texas Centennial Central Exposition grounds. To fulfill the contract they shipped six railway carloads and ten truck loads of shrubbery to Dallas. The landscaping featured native shrubs. Today this site is Fair Park, home of the State Fair of Texas.

 In the spring of 2013, the business was awarded a “Texas Treasures Business Award” from the Texas Historical Commission for businesses existing for more than 50 years.

Greenhouses.  Hail storms destroyed the original glass roofs years ago.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ally Beitel House

Myrta Street entrance, 1929. Kerr County Historical Commission collection.
Washington Street entrance, 2013.
This stucco house at 901 Myrta Street, at the corner of Washington, was built for Ally Beitel in 1925.  Ally Beitel operated the Beitel "Old House" Lumber Yard on Clay Street.  You can read more about the Beitel Lumber Yard and about Ally Beitel here.
The front of this house faces Washington Street and had an address of 847 Washington, but for many years the Myrta Street entrance has been preferred.

Because of his business, Beitel was able to carefully selected the best quality materials to build his dream home. The house is so well designed and built and the quality of materials is so high that very little has been altered.  It still has original lighting and plumbing fixtures. Designed and built by local builders Otto Schwethelm and Bruno Schott at a cost of $18,500, it was valued at $20,000 in the 1930 census.  Interestingly, ten years later, in the 1940 census, it was valued at $8,500.  That is a rather steep decline in valuation even for the Great Depression era.  I'm not sure what to attribute this to.

Beitel died of an extended illness in 1933 at the age of 44. Two months later his widow transferred the property to A. C. Schreiner (who held the mortgage).  It appears she continued to live in the house while she was building a smaller house next door at 849 Washington Street.

In April 1935 A.C. Schreiner sold the house to Edward H. and Maydee Patton. Edward Patton was general manager of the Kerrville Amusement Company which built the Arcadia Theatre and operated it for many years. In 1947 he bought the Blue Bonnet Drug Store and owned it until his retirement. She died in 1955, he in 1973. They are buried in Waco.
The following item appeared in the Sept. 9, 1943, Kerrville Mountain Sun.
"Mr. and Mrs. E. H. Patton have moved to their home on Myrta Street. Mr. and Mrs. David Bruton and children, who spent the past year in the Patton home, have returned to Houston."
Just one month later, on October 6, 1943, the Pattons sold the property to Bennett and Archie Nance who lived there until about 1991.  The Nances owned the house the longest. They were ranchers in Wichita Falls before coming to Kerr County and later on the Divide.

Dr. Tom and Susan Nau were the next owners.  In 1993 Gary and Kathy Miears bought the house and reside there today.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

2102 Memorial Drive

This is the original Mosty Nursery location in Kerrville. Mosty Nursery was established in 1897 in Kerrville by L. A. Mosty. The house, reportedly erected circa 1921, originally was frame.  The rock facade was added later.

ca 1929
When Leander A. Mosty (generally known as “L.A.”) arrived in Kerr County in 1897 he took in the landscape and saw a need for fruit, shade, and ornamental trees, not just for the growing town of Kerrville, but also to supply the many farms and ranches being established. He saw an opportunity, purchased land down river from Kerrville, just to the east of where Schreiner University stands today, and with his sons began to grow and sell trees and plants. Trees planted in the early years still stand around Kerr County today.
From a family history compiled by Harvey Mosty, one of L.A.’s sons, comes this account:
“When we came back here from Lampasas in the fall of 1897, we brought a sack of old Indian peach seed. I planted them southeast of the present well, down in the field where the two pecan trees now stand. These pecan trees were planted from nuts given to me by Mr. Hy Welge. They were from the Oliver tree near Junction. The peach seed came up and Lee and I budded them. A friend named Mr. Jump showed us how to bud a tree. The buds did very well and we got a nice lot of trees out of the planting. This was the start of the L.A. Mosty & Sons Nursery. Most of the trees were planted on the farm; however some were sold to neighbors.”

L. A. Mosty developed new varieties of trees, including Mosty’s Cling peach, Mosty’s Free peach, and the Mosty pecan, and shrubs including a two horticultural varieties of the Arizona cypress, a juniper, a yellow Hypericum and a variety of nandina.  He joined the fledgling Texas Nurseryman’s Association. By 1907 the nursery, which at that time had four acres in roses and ornamentals, was certified by the State of Texas.  Operations expanded to Center Point in 1908. When L.A. Mosty died in 1917, the nursery was taken over by his two oldest sons, Lee and Harvey, who changed the name of the business to Mosty Brothers Nursery.   The Mosty brothers soon turned the venture into a wholesale nursery business. Lee and Harvey were able to grow the nursery to become one of the largest in the Southwest offering a second location in Center Point, Texas and expanding the Kerrville operation to include a retail business including the Mosty Flower Shop. Harvey operated the Kerrville location, Lee the Center Point one.
In 1985 the Kerrville location of Mosty Brothers Nursery closed. C.H. Mosty continued the Mosty Brothers Nursery in Center Point with his son Scott N. Mosty where the business continues today.

I'm not sure what the use was between 1985 and 1998. Tannenberger Nursery was here from 1998-2005,  followed by Alexandra's Tea Room.  Currently the property is vacant and for sale.

Monday, December 9, 2013

149 Francisco Lemos Street

Built in the 1920s, this cottage at 149 Francisco Lemos Street currently houses a B&B. There is also a double cottage that was advertised as new in 1936.

Robert L. and Sallie Jonas purchased this property in 1919 and are most likely the ones who had the house built.

Described in the deed books as the Schreiner Herzog block, this section was subdivided by Nathan Herzog in 1889, the same year Kerrville was incorporated.

Nathan Herzog was born 1857 in Prussia, arrived in this country in 1870, and died 1934 in Kerrville at his home at 325 Water Street.   He married Lena Valeska Dietert on November 10, 1878, in Kerr County.
Nathan Herzog was Jewish, one of the first to settle in Kerrville. His wife however was Lutheran. When he died, the pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church officiated at his funeral.  Herzog worked as a clerk at Schreiner's store for 56 years.  He was so highly thought of by the firm that the store closed for half a day for his funeral. Herzog was one of the first aldermen elected in Kerrville and was a charter member and first treasurer of the local Masonic lodge. He was also one of the organizers of the Kerrville Concordia German singing society.
There is an interesting story told about him in the August 4, 1955 Kerrville Mountain Sun. When Charles Schreiner first went into business, he partnered with August Faltin.  After several years the partnership was dissolved and "as good merchandise was hard to obtain in those days, neither member of the firm would take a cash settlement, so the stock had to be divided.  Herzog took down all of the merchandise, divided it evenly, even to the piece goods--which he unwound from the bolts, measured the proper lengths, cut them off and rewound both sections of the bolt.  So careful was he and so meticulous with his measurements and his packing, that both partners were well satisfied with the division." 
He left the Schreiner store for a while to establish his own store, but later returned to Schreiner's.

In 1889 Herzog cut out a 150 strip of land from property he owned in Block 33 of Schreiner's Addition to Kerrville.  This strip is along Lemos Street between Water Street and the Guadalupe River. He then sold off the lots, including these three, part of which went to Henry Boeckmann and part to H. Nuernberger.
On August 9, 1919, the heirs of Henry and Emilie Boeckmann sold the land to R. L. and Sallie Jonas for $800.
The Jonases must have erected the house, and probably shortly afterwards.  They were on Water Street in 1920, but living here by the 1930 census in a house valued at $3500.   Robert Jonas had been a rural mail carrier, but in 1930 he was a truck driver doing local hauling. Daughter Effie Fullen, who was divorced, was living with them, and working at a saleslady at a variety store.  

In August 1932, there was a fire in a neighboring one-story cottage at 151 Lemos Street. The newspaper reported "Firemen said that apparently the fire had started on a sleeping porch in the rear of the cottage, but did not determine the origin of the blaze. Prompt work by vigilant firemen prevented the fire from spreading to a 14-room one-story building within 15 feet of the cottage, the home of R. L. Jonas." (Presumably this house although it doesn't appear to be that large.)

In April 1936 they sold to Charles L. and Maud Brandon. He was a wholesale oil salesman. She took in boarders, offering tray service to the residents.

J. C.  and Hilda Christine Shaw were the next owners, purchasing the property in 1946 for $2499, the balance left of the note.  Although it was reported in November 1949 that they were moving to their ranch, in April 1950 they were still at their home on Lemos Street, finally selling it in July 1951 to Lewis J. and Dorothy Lott.  The Lotts sold just a few months later to L. A. and Lucyle Motl who opened the Guadalupe Haven Rest Home. Later they rented some of the rooms as apartments.

As a bit of local color:  The 1950 city directory indicates that Wm. A. Moellendorf was living at this address. This would have been about the time Bill and Peggy Moellendorf became the parents of the first set of twins (a boy and a girl) born at Peterson Hospital.  The Kerrville Mountain Sun reported on May 25, 1950, that "They were greeted by hundreds of the people of the city through the nursery window." You have to love it!

 John L. Clay was the next owner, then Rollie P. Dobyns, who lived here from 1965 until his death in 1981. After he died there was an unsuccessful attempt at rezoning for a riverside restaurant.  Then is 1987 a conditional use permit was granted to allow a retail store called "The Home Place" to open.
Later there was a law office for a few years in the 1990s before restoration and conversion to  its current use as a B&B.

Friday, November 8, 2013

A word of thanks

A word of thanks. This blog passed the 10,000 pageview mark this week.  That seems so amazing for a blog with such a narrow focus--the built environment of the Texas Hill Country (and mostly Kerr County).   Posting has slowed down due to a few projects with deadlines I'm involved in, but more will be coming.

In the meantime, I'll ask this again...I like to research and write about buildings in Kerr County that are more that 50 years old. There are plenty!  If you own such a building, or know of one that I haven't blogged about yet, please email me at dgaudier at gmail.com.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Boy from Reservation

I don't really know where to put this young man, so he gets a page to himself!

Edwin John Kaiser was born July 23, 1897, in Fredericksburg to William and Martha Kaiser.  He died at Camp Travis, Texas, on November 23, 1918. He lived and worked in Harper, but registered for the draft in Kerr County. I have learned from the newspapers that he lived in the Reservation community in Kerr County, a community near the Gillespie county line and not far from Mountain Home. The old Reservation school was consolidated with neighboring Gillespie County schools in 1941.

A service flag and United States flag were  blessed at the local Catholic church in Harper during a mass in December 1942.  The December 11, 1942, Harper Herald reported it this way: "This particular [U.S.] flag is noteworthy in that it is the flag which draped the casket of Edwin Kaiser, who died while in the service of our country made necessary by the first World War.  He was buried here on Nov., 25, 1918.  That flag is the gift of the parents, Mr. and Mrs. Will Kaiser, Sr.  ... enthroned in the sanctuary of the Church, the place of honor, and will silently honor those to whom they are dedicated, the young men of the Paris who are fighting this war for us."

This is the last in the series about World War I dead of Kerr County.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Boys from Turtle Creek

There were two young men from the Turtle Creek community who lost their lives in World War I.
They are Robert Emerson Spicer and Leonard Miles Denton.

Leonard Miles Denton was born August 25, 1896, in Kerr County to Benjamin Franklin Denton Jr. and Louisiana "Annie" Sarah Norwood Denton.  He died of pneumonia April 15, 1918, at Camp Bowie, Tarrant County, and is buried in Turtle Creek Cemetery.
This lengthy obituary appeared in the Kerrville Mountain Sun on April 26, 1918:

 Kerr County Soldier dies at Camp Bowie.
Kerr County is sad today.  Yesterday was laid to rest one of her soldier sons; a young, red-blooded American who left last September to give his life for his country, has made the sacrifice.
Private Leonard Denton, Co. I, 141st Infantry, died Monday afternoon at 4:40 o'clock in the Base Hospital at Camp Bowie, a victim of pneumonia.
The young man was ill only a few days, ad his father, B. F. Denton, left last week for Fort Worth in response to a message informing him of his son's illness.  His condition seemed to gradually grow worse until the end came Monday afternoon.
The remains, accompanied by the father, a brother, Claud Denton, of Midland, and a military escort, arrived on the Wednesday evening train and were met by a large group of relatives and friends.
The remains were laid to rest in the Turtle Creek Cemetery Thursday afternoon.  The funeral was one of the largest attended ever held in the county, showing he esteem in which the young soldier was held by his home people, and their appreciation of his noble sacrifice.
Rev. D. B. South, pastor of the Kerrville Baptist Church, in tender words of sympathy and comfort conducted the service at the [unclear].
Young Denton was just reaching manhood and was one of the first to volunteer last summer when Captain Seeber organized the old Company D, First Texas Infantry, which was merged with another company at Camp Bowie some time ago and named Co. I, 141st Infantry.  It is peculiarly sad that a young man so patriotic should not be permitted to get into action; but he had nevertheless given his life in his country's cause, and to the mourning ones we would remind that He who doeth all things well, makes no mistakes.  The human link snapped asunder on earth is forged anew in Heaven.  It is true when beautiful youth is gone and much of life remains; hence the dear one's eyes are closed to all earthy trials.  In his springtime of enthusiasm and tenderness, ere the sunshine of hope and joy was extinguished, he passed to the glorious beyond.
No bronze or marble shaft, no splendor of ancient or modern tombs and no play of immortal genius can adorn the memory of such manly young men.  Their lives, their deeds, their influences, living or dead, and their pure aspirations are the monuments that will keep their names burning in the home and hearts of kindred and brethren, while the silence of death draps[sic] and chills us at this moment, memories sweet and precious come crowding in.
"How sweet a life was his; how sweet a death;
Living to wing with mirth the merry hours,
Or with his genial tales the heart to cheer.
Dying to leave a memory like the heath
Of summer, full of sunshine and flowers.
A grief and gladness in the atmosphere."

Robert Emerson Spicer was born May 23, 1890, in Kerrville to James and Ruth Nelson Spicer.  He was English, she Canadian. He died October 9, 1918, in France and is buried at Oise-Aisne Cemetery.

Pictured here is his mother who participated in the U.S. World War I Mothers' Pilgrimage in 1930. This was a federally funded program to allow mothers to visit the graves of their sons and to see the battlefields where they died. She went to France to visit the grave of her son for the first and only time.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Boys from Ingram (and Pebble)

Four young men from Ingram died in World War I.  They are Monroe Ernest Dowdy, Louie Robert Floyd, Grover Kile Hollomon, and William A. Johannessen.

Monroe Ernest Dowdy was born February 14, 1888, in Kerr County to Richard Balem and Leila McKeen Dowdy and died October 10, 1918, in France. He was buried at Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial, Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, Departement de la Meuse, Lorraine, France.
He lived in Ingram and worked as a laborer for Ed Ragland in Mountain Home.
Dowdy was a Private, Company G, 127th Infantry, U.S. Army.

Robert Louis Floyd  (appears in official records as Louie R. Floyd) was born November 9, 1893, to George W. and Mary E. Floyd, and died September 23, 1918, in Texas.  He is buried in Nichols Cemetery. On October 18, 1918, the Kerrville Mountain Sun reported that he had died of pneumonia "Over There".

Grover Kile Hollomon was born January 15, 1890, in Kerrville, to George R. and Delilah Hollomon and died October 2, 1918, overseas.  He farmed with his father before being called up.
The following appeared in the Kerrville Mountain Sun for July 23, 1920.
"Bodies of two more soldiers from Overseas.
"Friday of last week, the bodies of Harvey L. Merritt and Grover Hollomon were brought from overseas to Kerrville and Saturday were buried at Nichol's [sic] Cemetery near Ingram. Corporal Tracht accompanied the bodies from Hoboken, N.J., to Kerrville and the Ward Undertaking Company had charge of the remains.
"These bodies of dead soldiers are shipped here in the cement casket, which was described recently in The Sun.  The weight of the casket is over 500 pounds. 
Harvey Merrit and Grover Hollomon both died of pneumonia in October, 1918.
"There were a number of relatives to meet the remains at Kerrville and accompany them to the cemetery. "

Jacob Harvey Merritt was born July 12, 1893, in Kerr County, and died October 10, 1918, overseas.  He is buried in Nichols Cemetery.
Harvey Merritt was a stock farmer.
When he registered for the draft he gave his address as Pebble.  Pebble was west of Hunt along the South Fork of the Guadalupe and it would make more sense to place Merritt on that blog page, but because of the news story above I've added him here.  The Pebble post office closed in 1918.

The November 28, 1918, Kerrville Mountain Sun  reported his death this way: "Harvey Merritt Killed in Action.  Mr. and Mrs. B. F. Merritt of the Upper Guadalupe have received word from Washington advising them that their son, Private Harvey Merritt had been killed in action in the battlefields of France.  Harvey was one of the last of the Kerr County boys to answer the call to service and had been in France only a few weeks when he was killed. Thus another of our splendid young men has paid the supreme sacrifice and added another gold star to Kerr County's glorious banner which will be held with honor and esteem and preserved as an heritage to future generations as a part of the victory that followed our immortal flag across the seas."

William A. Johannessen was born March 19, 1895, in Blanco County, died October 28, 1917 at Fort Logan, Colorado, of typhoid fever and is buried in Nichols Cemetery. He was a member of Co. L, 1st Infantry Division, U.S. Army. Fort Logan was a recruit depot at that time.

His father James Peter Johannessen was born in Norway.  His mother Elizabeth Loretta Stokes was born in Texas.  The family first appears in the 1910 U.S. Census in Kerr County.  I have not found any other information about him. One of the challenges of researching this surname is that it is frequently misspelled in the newspaper. Some of the variants include Johannesen, Johannesson and Johanneson.

This record was changed on May 8, 2017, to reflect newly located information about William A. Johannessen.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Boys from Hunt

Two young men from Hunt, William Edmond Caddell and Randolph Davis, were among the Kerr County World War I dead.

William "Edmond" Caddell, the son of Martin Ernest "Mark" Caddell and Wilhelmina "Minnie" Josephine Hagemann, was born January 29, 1895, in Kerr County. He farmed in the Hunt area.
Edmond Caddell died on Oct. 20, 1918, reportedly of emphysema, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
He was a Private, Company K, 122nd Infantry 31st Division, US Army.

Reprinted here is a letter he wrote to his brother Jim. Jim was 17 years older than Edmond.  Camp Travis was in San Antonio and is now part of Fort Sam Houston.

"Camp Travis Texas 


Dear Brother Sister an family with the greatest of pleasure I will answer your most kind and welcome letter which I rec'd the other day. I got my razor and everything all right well I sure feel tuff at the present I got my last shot of vaccianation this eve. How are you all I am all OK at present with the exceptions of feeling a little tuff Say If you all want to ever see me any more Send me a telegram that Jim is pretty bad of and he wants me to come you will hafto have some Doctor to sign his name to the telegram.

"Thats the only way I can come for they wont let me off any other way.

"Send it to Camp Travis 77 Co 20 T R Bn 165 D B Camp Travis Texas and pay the call there and send me about 10 or 15 dollars in the telegram. for I will hafta have money to come on for am nearly busted. dont wait one minute about sending that telegram for I may be gone if you dont. Tell Mina I dont know where Ben is him and Frank is both in the army now.

"Where is my girl at I wrote to letters one to her and one to the other one and one to Simpson also and havent heard from either one yet. well I will register this so you will be sure and get it.

So I will close

Your Bud


Randolph Davis was born February 21, 1896, in Kimble Co., to James Leonard and Mollie G. Davis, and died October 21, 1918, in Europe.  A farmer, he is buried in the Conn Family Cemetery in Hunt.

The following obituary appeared in the Kerrville Mountain Sun for July 16, 1920:
"June 30, 1920, the remains of Private Randolph Davis were assigned a permanent resting place, at the Conn cemetery, the writer officiating.
"Randolph Davis was 25 years old' was born in Kimble county, but had spend most of his life in Kerr.  He entered the U. S. service July 15, 1918 and served in the infantry with Company 9 of the 2nd division.
"After leaving training camp and made the voyage overseas he was attacked by a severe case of pneumonia, which proved fatal.
"The deceased is survived by his mother, Mrs. Mollie Davis; by full brothers, Mike, Clarence and Charles; half brothers, Robert, Abner, Ben, John and Jim; sisters, Matilda, Mary and Lizzie, and one step-brother Humphrey McKenney.  His father, James Davis, died Jan. 29, 1919, and before passing away requested that the remains of Randolph be brought back to Texas for burial.  The family used every means possible to comply with his desire. Private E. Major accompanied the remains from the east to Kerr county and as the casket was being lowered, he lifted from it the U.S. flag and presented it to the family.
"The vacancy made by the departure of Randolph is very keenly felt, but those of us who know that God does all things well must resign our wills to His will and expect Him to make our individual lives what they should be. (Roger C. Walker)"
Roger C. Walker was the pastor at the Ingram Baptist Church.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Boys from Center Point

Three of the nineteen Kerr County World War I war dead were from Center Point.  They were Jay Lynzy Cowden, Albert Feller, and Jefferson Davis Leavell. Their stories are told here.

Jay Cowden was born February 6, 1896, to Washington P. and Mary Jane Green Cowden, possibly in Wilbarger County, and died January 17, 1918, in France. His body was repatriated and buried in the Center Point Cemetery. 
His four brothers also served. 
Jay Cowden was a Private First Class, Company E, 141 Infantry, 36 Division of the U. S. Army.

This interesting item appeared in the January 22, 1942, Kerrville Mountain Sun, "The cottage owned by Mrs. P. W. Rogers on Jay Cowden Street is being remodeled and decorated. It will be occupied by Mr.  and Mrs. Elmo Moss."
I wonder where Jay Cowden Street was.

Albert Feller was born February 7, 1896, in Killeen, to Hugo and Laura Feller and died September 29, 1918, in an infirmary in France.  Before the war he was a farm hand for Fred Vaughn at Center Point.
He was a member of Co. D,  the 163rd Infantry, U.S. Army.

On January 13, 1922, the Kerrville Mountain Sun reported "The remains of Albert Feller arrived Tuesday from France and interment took place Wednesday afternoon at the Holloman[sic] burial ground, two and a half miles south of Kerrville.  Services were conducted by Rev. J. Grady Timmons, and several of the American Legion attended from Kerrville as well as a number of others.  Albert Feller was born February 7th, 1896, and died in France September 29th, 1918.  His death was caused by illness."

Jefferson Davis Leavell was born November 16, 1895, in Center Point to William Tighe and Piety Catherine Page Leavell.  He died in France December 1, 1918.  He seems to have moved around a bit.  In 1910 he was living with his family on Main Street in Kerrville. By the time he registered for the draft he was living in Ozona and working for James Mitchell as a ranch laborer. His name did not appear in the earliest lists of Kerr County war dead.
The September 9, 1920, Kerrville Mountain Sun reported "The remains of Pvt. Jeff Leavell were brought from France for burial in Glen Rest Cemetery.  The body arrived last Friday afternoon, accompanied by a military escort and interment was made Saturday at 4 p.m. following a ??? [unclear] at the residence of J. D. Leavell. "

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Boys from Camp Verde

The names of two men from the Camp Verde community appear on the World War I memorials in Kerr County.  They are William Milton Reeves (aka Milton Alfred Reeves) and William Eddie Burleson.

William Eddie Burleson was born December 16, 1892, in Texas to Zack and Ida Burleson and died  September 26, 1918, at Camp Dix in New Jersey.  Before the war he was a farmer in Camp Verde and  claimed exemption from the draft on the basis of growing crops. Clearly the draft board did not consider that to be an excuse because on October 4, 1918, the following item appeared in the Kerrville Mountain Sun:

"Kerr County Boy Falls Victim to Influenza
Kerr County again has been made to feel sad when on September 26, death claimed another one of her noble sons, William Eddie Burleson, who had left his home and loved ones and had entered the service of his country to fight for freedom for all. Young Burleson was born December 16, 1892 at the old Vasbinder home on Spring Creek.  He entered the service, August 12, 1918, being sent to Camp Cody, N.M. for a short while and from there transferred to Camp Dix, N.J. where he became the victim of influenza which caused his death. In a letter from this young soldier to his mother, which was written just a few days before his death, he stated that he would be crossing the ocean by the time the letter should reach her. Besides many other relatives the deceased is survived by father, mother, and two sisters, all of the Camp Verde community. In addition to the ceremonies of the Woodmen of the World, under whose auspices funeral services were conducted, Judge H. C. Jeddie made an address."
The tombstone erroneously gives his date of birth as September 16, 1892.

Milton Reeves appears on Kerr County War Memorials as William Milton Reeves. His headstone reads Milton Alfred Reeves. In the 1900 census his name is reported as Milton A. Reeves and in 1910 as Milton Alfred Reeves. However, on his draft registration he gives his name as William Milton Reeves.
He was born February 24, 1896, in Bandera to Robert and Ruth Reeves and died October 11, 1918, in Brest, France.  His body is said to have been returned to Camp Verde. There is a marker for him in the Camp Verde Cemetery.
Prior to the war he was a farmer living with and working for his brother Dell Reeves in Camp Verde.

The following report of his death appeared in the Kerrville Mountain Sun, November 28, 1918.
"William Reeves Pays Supreme Sacrifice.
A telegram was received from the Department at Washington recently announcing the sad news that William Milton Reeves had died in France of pneumonia on the 11th day of October.
Milton Reeves was the son of R. P. Reeves and was only 22 years of age, the youngest of the Reeves brothers. He left Kerrville on the 27th of June with a smiling face, to fight for freedom for all, and was "Over There" only a few days when he was called Home.
Milton's many friends are sad to learn of his untimely demise.  He was a true Woodman of the World and a noble-hearted younge man.  It hurts Kerr County to give up such as he.  He is survived by five brothers and one dear sister. His brother Tom is in France."

Sadly his brother Tom, who served with the Army in France, died while stationed in Kansas, en route home. He is also buried in the Camp Verde Cemetery.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Why is there no George Wells Street?

As I said in my previous post concerning the World War I dead of Kerr County, I had heard, and newspaper reporting implies, that Sidney Baker, Earl Garrett, and Francisco Lemos were the only three who lived in Kerrville, that the others were county residents. That may not be so.
There was a man named George S. Wells as well. 

George S. Wells was born August 5, 1894, and died January 25, 1917, before official American involvement (which came 6 April 1917).   He is buried at Glen Rest Cemetery in Kerrville.

Here is his obituary from the February 1, 1917 Kerrville Mountain Sun
"George Wells, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ed. Wells of this city died at Brownsville last Thursday after an operation for appendicitis at the Army hospital.  He was stationed with the National Guard at Corpus Christi, being a member of Company B, Second Texas Infantry, when he took sick.  The body was brought to Kerrville, arriving here on Saturday, and on Sunday the funeral was held from the Presbyterian Church, Rev. W. P. Dickey conducting the service.  The Woodmen of the World, of which he was a member, then took charge of the body and tenderly laid him to rest in Glen Rest Cemetery.
The family have the deepest sympathy of our entire citizenship in the loss of their son, who was a young man with a bright future and well liked by all who knew him."

Brother Erwin Charles Wells also registered for the draft--on 15 Sept 1918.  Erwin was a drug clerk at Rawson's drug store and later became a pharmacist there.

The history I've been able to find suggests that George Wells lived in Kerrville before he joined the armed forces.

Their parents were Egbert G. and Elizabeth Wells. Egbert's name appears as both Ed G. and as Elbert in the US Census records.  Egbert, a native of Missouri, was a machinist at the Schreiner windmill shop.  Elizabeth was a Texan. In 1900 the family lived in Kerrville, exact location unknown; in 1910 they were on Main Street; by 1920 they were at 408 Jefferson Street where they continued to reside for some years.  George was with them in the household in 1900 and 1910.

Egbert G. Wells died 2 Jan 1943 at the age of 88 and was buried at Glen Rest. His obituary named his widow and surviving children: son Ervin C. Wells and three daughters, Mrs. C. M. Francis of Chicago, Illinois, Mrs. W. A. Jacoby and Mrs. G. H. King of San Antonio. No mention was made of other children. 
Elizabeth Schmidt Wells died at the age of 85 in 1948 and is also buried at Glen Rest. Her obituary in the 9 December 1948 Kerrville Mountain Sun stated she had made her home in Kerrville for more than 50 years, and for a number of years lived in the 400 block of Jefferson Street. She moved to San Antonio after the death of her husband and youngest daughter Bonnie Lee Wells (which occurred in 1942).  This is the only mention of a deceased child in either obituary. 

If the Wellses lived in Kerrville for more than 50 years prior to 1943, that would mean they were here before 1893.  George Wells was born in 1894. So why was George Wells not honored with a street named for him? Is it because he didn't die overseas?

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Other 16

You don't have to live in Kerr County long before you learn about Francisco Lemos, Sidney Baker, and Earl Garrett--three young Kerrville men who died while in service to their country in World War I.  Streets in Kerrville were named for them. 
Did you know there were sixteen others from Kerr County who also died and are remembered on the various memorial plaques?

They are:
William Eddie Burleson of Camp Verde
William Milton Reeves of Camp Verde (also known as Milton Alfred Reeves)
Jay Lynzy Cowden of Center Point
Albert Feller of Center Point
William Edmond Caddell of Hunt
Randolph Davis of Hunt
Monroe Ernest Dowdy of Ingram
Louie Robert Floyd of Ingram
Grover Kile Hollomon of Ingram
William A. Johannessen of Ingram
Jacob Harvey Merritt of Pebble (near Hunt)
Leonard Miles Denton of Turtle Creek
Robert Emerson Spicer of Turtle Creek
George S. Wells of Kerrville

Edwin John Kaiser (Born in Fredericksburg he lived and worked in Harper, but he registered for the draft in Kerr Co. Lived in the Reservation community.)
Jefferson Davis Leavell (Born in Center Point, but he was drafted from Ozona, Crockett Co.)

I had heard, and newspaper reporting implies, that Baker, Garrett, and Lemos were the only three who lived in Kerrville, that the others were county residents. That may not be so.
There was a man named George S. Wells and his is a curious case. More on that in another post.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

808 Earl Garrett Street

A note on the back of the photograph indicates this Tudor-style house at 808 Earl Garrett was built in 1916 by Otto Schwethelm at the time of his marriage to Ysabel Faltin, of Comfort. They lived here until 1943.  This was a substantial house for its time. In 1930 it was valued at $10,000.  Otto Schwethelm was a rancher and banker and worked for the Schreiner Bank for 46 years.  At the time the house was built, he was an assistant cashier at the bank.
He died at the age of 89 in 1981.  She died at the age of 96 in 1991. They are buried together at Glen Rest Cemetery.
The Schwethelms were charter members of a dance club known at the German Club of Kerrville.  I learned about the club from a January 14, 1984, article in the Kerrville Mountain Sun marking its 50th anniversary.   You did not have to be German heritage to belong. "German" referred to a "French-style dance" called the German popular when the Club was organized in in 1934.   When the dances first began they were held on one of the Real ranches in Upper Turtle Creek about 17 miles from town. Otto Schwethelm told a tale that when some of the men got out to open the seven gates on the way, they "took a drink at each one and arrived at the dance in high spirits."
(Just a bit of local color for you.)

ca 1988
Bobbie Baldwin was the next owner, living here from 1944 until 1949 when he sold to H. W. Harlin. Harlin was a rancher who lived part-time in Kerrville. In 1952 he sold to Arthur W. Brock, who in 1954 received a permit for additions to the property.  He was a career Air Force Colonel.  The Kerrville Times reported that during his last four years he served as director of the intelligence division of the Air Force.  Brock sold to James Clanton in 1961. In 1964 Clanton in turn sold to William M. Tomlinson who owned it about three years. The next owner was Robert Nuetze. The Nuetzes occupied the house until 1977. There were a series of short-term occupants after that and in 1983 Olde House Partnership obtained a permit to convert the house into the current apartment units at a cost of $30,000.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

19th Century Commercial Buildings in Kerrville

Following up the list of 19th century residential properties in Kerrville, here is a list of non-residential and commercial buildings constructed in Kerrville in the 19th century. If I've forgotten something I'm sure you'll remind me!

I have not blogged about all these yet.  One day...

631 Water Street
701 Water Street (Pampell's Opera House)
709 Water Street (The Favorite Saloon)
816 Water Street (Rock Drug Store) (now the telephone co. equipment building)
824-826 Water Street (The Old Bakery)
201 Earl Garrett Street (Weston Building)
208 Earl Garrett Street (1882 Schreiner Store)
211 Earl Garrett Street (Masonic Building) 
241 Earl Garrett Street (Guthrie Building)
415 Clay Street  (Beitel's Lumberyard "Old House")
415 Clay Street (Dietert Mercantile)
305 Tivy Street (Old Tivy Hotel)
1009 Barnett Street (Old Tivy High School)
corner Broadway and Travis Street (Old Union Church)

816 Water Street is now the telephone equipment building, but behind part of that 1960s facade is history.  The original outline of the old Rock Drug building is clearly seen in aerial views.

The oldest building on this list is the 1875 Favorite Saloon.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

1312 Water Street

The original address for this house was 1212 Water Street.  The streets in this area were renumbered about 1929.

This house at 1312 Water Street has some characteristics that have caused me to think this might be a 19th century house.  However, continued research indicates that it is more likely this was built by Ben Davey sometime between 1910 and 1914.  Here's my reasoning:

The legal description of this property is Block 10, Lot 17, Tivy Addition.  On July 31, 1907, Sid Peterson sold lots 9 and 10 for $525 to J. H. Chapman.  On Oct 16, 1907, J. H. and Ida Chapman sold lots 9 and 10 for $550 to Oscar P. Garrett, an average of $225 per lot.
Oct February 25, 1910, Garrett sold these two lots to Miss Mabel Grace Davey for $600. At the time she was a 23-year-old schoolteacher at Tivy. On June 10, 1914, she married Robert B. Knox.
On January 31, 1920, R. B. and Mabel Knox sold just lot 10, the one this house stands on, to John F. and Visa Surber for $600. Note that the value of the property had doubled in the intervening ten years. This suggests that the house was built in that time period.
ca 1932.  Courtesy, Kerr County Historical Commission Collection
Mabel's father Ben Davey was a building contractor. He very likely built this house for her, perhaps in anticipation of her marriage.
Ben Davey was at one time in partnership with Bruno Schott, veteran Kerrville builder. Many of the early buildings in the area were constructed by the firm.

John F.  and Visa Ann Surber, the next owners, and their heir Annie Rotge together owned the house for fifteen years. He had been a farmer but by 1920 he was no longer working.
In 1936 Charlie Hansen, an employee at the VA Hospital, purchased it.  He died in 1961, but his family owned it another six years until 1967. The Hansens owned the property the longest--31 years.

Over the next dozen years there were four separate owners.  It continued to be residential property until D. K. Livingston bought it in 1979. Liquidation Outlet opened here at the end of that year--the first of a series of small businesses located here ever since.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

19th Century Houses in Kerrville

I'm back!  I've had some other projects occuping my time.  Did you miss me?

I've been wondering how many 19th century buildings remain in Kerr County.  So far I have come up with about three dozen, and I believe there are many more than that in the rural areas.  My two mile long rural road has three, including my house!  I've asked some locals, including fellow blogger Joe Herring, to put their thinking caps on.  I'm asking my loyal readers now too. Do you know of others?  Please use the comments box below, or you can email me at  dgaudier at gmail dot com.
(I use this address only for my blogs.)
The list below is only of buildings that were originally erected as residences and are inside the current city limits of Kerrville.  I am certain the list is incomplete.
Another day I will do non-residential and rural properties.

226 Earl Garrett Street (Schreiner Mansion)
1013 Main Street (Wm. Rawson house)
1100 E. Main Street
328 Jefferson Street (Max Grona house)
902 Jefferson Street
1001 Jefferson Street (Comparette house)
513 Earl Garrett Street (Anderson house)
413 Sidney Baker Street 
400 block Water Street  (A.C. Schreiner house)
Henry Dietert House, off Goat Creek Road
The following houses may also be 19th century
713 Sidney Baker Street (date uncertain, may be 19th century)
408 Water Street (date uncertain. predates 1904, may be 19th century)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

War Memorials

Most people probably think of the monument on the courthouse grounds when they think of a war memorial in Kerr County. Some also think about Francisco Lemos, Sidney Baker, and Earl Garrett, the World War I soldiers for whom three Kerrville streets are named.
There are at least two others. One is the Cailloux Theater which I wrote about here. Another is the Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library which I mentioned here.
Today I am writing more about the B-H Memorial Library.
In the January 11, 1957,  Kerrville Times, in the column called "Brother Red Sez", the author pointed out that $26,000 had been collected some twelve years earlier to be used as a War Memorial.  The Memorial had not been built and he argued for using the money to build a library for Kerrville.  At the time it was housed in two rooms of the Schreiner Mansion,  the rest of which served as the Masonic Temple.  They wanted to take over the space that the public library was in, but the library had no place to go.  Plans had been drawn but fundraising was going very slowly for a memorial library for Kerr County. This was a county wide effort as reported in the November 14, 1957, Kerrville Mountain Sun.   

The April 3, 1958, Kerrville Mountain Sun reported, "Out of a desire to have the new building to stand as a memorial to deceased Kerr County veterans of all wars, the sponsors have designated the proposed structure as the Kerr County Memorial Library." Even though the public library in Kerrville is designated as a memorial to all deceased Kerr County veterans--not just Kerrville veterans, the County Commissioners at this time will not financially support the Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library.  The name of the library was originally the Kerr County Memorial Library.  The fundraising for the library was a county-wide effort with many clubs, individuals, and businesses making donations.

The Kerr County War Mothers Association took on the responsibility of collecting the names of Kerr County men who died in the service of their country. The list was to include the names of men who died while their families were residents of Kerr County, or who went to the Armed Forces giving Kerr County as their home.
When in 1958 the library moved from space in the Schreiner Mansion to the former Pentecostal church on Water Street, a bronzed plaque was hung in the entrance to the Memorial Library. 

This war memorial is older than the Memorial Auditorium, erected 1960, which became the Cailloux Theater,  and older than the memorial on the Courthouse square and yet it seems forgotten.

As for that $16,000... I'm not sure if it went to the Memorial Library, or to the Memorial Auditorium.  When I find that information I'll update this site.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

720 Water Street

This commercial building was a 1948 addition to the Schreiner store.  Erected by J. G. Rosson, the architect was Bartlett Cocke of San Antonio.
The report on this new project appeared in the February 19, 1948, Kerrville Mountain Sun.
"A Ladies Ready to Wear structure will be built on Water Street, adjoining the present store, completely filling the 47 foot space now used as a parking lot.  This building will be 100 feet deep, and will be of one story construction.  It will have the same type of architecture as the present building with cut stone top and a thoroughly modern front."

The aforementioned parking lot was laid on top of the old rails for the spur line that ran to the wool warehouse.  In April 1948, while it was under construction, the adjoining wool warehouse was destroyed by fire. The warehouse was rebuilt, but that must have added an interesting twist to the new construction.
At the same time this building was going up the grocery store on Earl Garrett was enlarged adding, according to the newspaper, "36 feet at the side, and made 20 feet longer." The total space for the expanded grocery was 8000 square feet.
Read about the Schreiner Cash and Carry Grocery here.  
On the day the expanded grocery opened in August 1948 there was a live radio broadcast from a Fredericksburg station as well as food giveaways.

I never had the opportunity to shop at Schreiner's, but I was told that this was always the Ladies' Ready to Wear department until the store closed a few years ago.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Nugent Building

Construction began on this contemporary commercial building at 832 Main Street, Kerrville, in November, 1964. It features a double arch over the entry and red ceramic tile walls. When the building was completed in early 1965, it became the temporary home of the Post Office. In July, 1966 the Post Office moved back to newly renovated quarters in the Federal building at the corner of Earl Garrett and Main Streets.
The January 13, 1965, Kerrville Mountain Sun printed a photograph of a crane erecting a column for the Nugent Building.  The cutline reads:
This guy Guido must have a good thing.  His tall cranes have been in Kerrville five times during the past six months, assisting with erecting buildings.  This picture shows one of the columns for the Nugent building at the corner of Main and Washington Streets.  The same cranes have been used for erecting the lights at Antler Stadium, on the Peterson Hospital, and even the new water tower at Mooney Aircraft.
Low bidder I'm sure.  Now if I just knew Guido's last name I might be able to learn the name of the contracting company.

The first occupant after the Post Office moved out was Drue A. Dunn who announced the opening of his office "for the practice of Public Accountancy at 832 Main" in the February 1, 1967, Kerrville Mountain Sun.  Dempsey Tegeler Co. Member New York Stock Exchange also moved in at about the same time.
This building has been home to many small businesses, mostly professional offices, ever since.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

343 West Main Street

ca 1932 Kerrville tax office photo

This house at 343 West Main Street in Westland Place was erected in 1928 for U. S. and Lena Bounds.They purchased the lot in December 1927 from the Kerrville Development Company for $300 and started work on the house shortly after.  She was a member of the Christian Church and often entertained church groups in her home. Her husband was a plumber.  The 1930 census and several San Antonio city directories gives his name as James U. S. Bounds, but he is only referred to as U. S. Bounds in newspaper mentions.

In 1934 the Kerrville Mountain Sun ran several advertisements for "Alberty's Food for TB".  This concoction, which claimed to be a homeopathic remedy for tuberculosis, was sold at two places in Kerrville--at the C.C. Butt Piggly Wiggly and at 343 West Main.  There is no indication that this was a shop selling anything else--only Alberty's Food. The Boundses may have been reps for the product.  At the same time they were operating Nu-Deal Loans and Insurance, offering personal secured loans and insurance of various types.

They moved to San Antonio in July 1935.  They later rented the house to Harper Rawlings who taught vocational agriculture in the public schools for  a few years before moving to Marfa.  By 1940 the Boundses had sold the house to Mack and Leona Morgan. He was proprietor of Five Points Package Store. They owned this house the longest.  Leona lived here four more years after Mack died in October 1961.  After she sold the house, the property changed hands and occupants on a regular basis. Since the names of the occupants as shown in the city directory and the names of the owners as recorded in the deed records rarely match up, it must have been a frequent rental.

It is now houses a small business.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

224 FM 480, Center Point

FM 480 is also known as San Antonio Street.
According to the December 23, 1905, Kerrville Mountain Sun, M. A. Calloway, "a former resident of this place" had just purchased a lot on San Antonio Street from Mr. James Crotty and planned to begin "the erection at once of a stone business house thereon".  I was fascinated to read in Gerald Witt's 1986 book The History of Eastern Kerr County, Texas that "[t]he walls are fifteen inches thick and and are made of rocks, mortar, and caliche sand.  Apparently, construction forms were filled with a rock and mortar mix to build the walls."
If this was indeed a cast-in-place concrete building, it was not a common technique at the time.

The book goes on to say:
This building has been used as a store at various times and some people remember attending movies there.  For years it was the warehouse of the Bandera Farmers and Ranchmen's association and was filled with wool and mohair. In 1970 Connie Woodell restored the building and opened Valley Western Store.
In 1973 Connie and Fred Woodell sold the property to Lloyd C. Woodbury who ran his taxidermy business here until moving to Ingram in 1978. In 1981 Dick and Jeannine Tuma moved their business, Mesa Bronze Foundry, here.  The Tumas no longer own the business, but it is still functioning as a bronze foundry at this location.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bear on the Loose

This is one of those stories that's just worth sharing.
On September 1, 1896, Henke Bros. City Meat Market opened at 816 Water Street. They had purchased the business from Karger Bros.  With the business came a pet black bear who was chained outside the back door.  He managed to get loose and went for a stroll, first checking out the rear door of a drug store next door.  The owner pulled out his shotgun and took potshots at the bear.  Enraged, the creature ran down Mountain Street (now Earl Garrett Street) chasing everyone off the street before turning into the Chas. Schreiner store.

Here is the story as told by the September 2, 1936, Kerrville Times on the 40th anniversary of the event: Bear Invades Store in City And Is Slain
Excitement Rampant in Kerrville--in Good Year 1896

On September 1, 1896, the staccato bark of carbines and the roar of shotguns disturbed the calm of Kerrville, then a ... town of some 1,200 souls.  The big excitement was created by a black bear that "went on the loose", and among other overt acts, disrupted a red-hot argument over the McKinley-Bryan presidential campaign, then in full swing.
The thrilling events of that day 40 years ago were particularly impressed upon the mind of A. W. Henke.  The young man on that very day has entered the business field in Kerrville, buying the City Meat Market from Karger Bros.  Among the appurtenances in the market transfer was one pet black bear.  The bear was kept chained n the rear of the shop.  Dissatisfaction over his new ownership, the crisp autumn air, or something else, brought an atavistic mood to bruin; in some manner he broke his leash and started out for a stroll.
The free bear nosed around the rear door of a drug store, operated by W. E. Stewart where the Rock Drug Store now is located.  Stewart took a pot shot with his shotgun, sending the animal into a rage.  The bear darted out into Mountain Street, now Earl Garrett Street, clearing that thoroughfare of all pedestrians and frightened horses tied to hitching racks.
Next the berserk bear dashed into the side door of Captain Chas. Schreiner's store and gave a ferocious growl ...
Employees of the store hastily armed themselves with guns and ammunition from the store's stock and the bombardment opened.  Up and down Water Street people thought the Schreiner Bank was being rustled by bandits.  The bank then was in a small rock building on the present site of Schreine'rs dry goods department. 
Volley after volley from rifles and shotguns riddled ... valises and derby hats on the counter, while dishpans were converted into sieves by buckshot before the bear slumped on the floor; dead.
Reminiscing Monday on the fortieth anniversary ... A. W. Henke recalled that his newly acquired pet bear was butchered and retailed for over the counter for 12 1/2 cents a pound--the best bear meat ever to be sold in West Texas.

Concerning the same event, L. A. Schreiner, who was a boy at the time, was watching the Italian stonemasons work on the exterior of the Chas. Schreiner mansion, his family home, when the bear got loose. Some sixty years later, remembering the event he recalled the bear "got loose, and came lumbering down the street and pandemonium ensued.  The terrified Italians climbed the trees like monkeys."

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

416-418 Earl Garrett Street

This building was erected for the Kerrville Times newspaper, which moved into this building in November 1926.  On November 18, 1926,  the following notice appeared in the Times.  "We have moved into our new quarters, on Earl Garrett Street, next to Moore and Saner Lumber Co., and most cordially invite the public to call on the Kerrville Times."  The newspaper offices remained at this location for twenty years. 

William F. Unnasch then purchased the property and shortly after, in September 1946, received a permit for a tile addition to the building. He also painted the business name on the side of the building.
His name, though faded is still visible on the side of the building today.  He ran a cleaners and tailoring business until February 1957, when he and his wife announced they were closing the business and retiring.  In a statement that will be familiar to many, they wanted to quit work while they still had time to enjoy life. "They have no particular vacation destination in sight they just plan to take off."

Three months later Henry Covert Sheet Metal Works opened offering "built up roofing and sheet metal". They remained here until 1967. The next business was Smith Used Appliance and Furniture which was here only a couple of years.

In November 1972, Heart O' the Hills Taxidermy "Since 1937" opened a second location here, the other location being 1416 Broadway.
Then in October 1988 Town Plaza Fine Meats announced they were moving from 210 Quinlan to 418 Earl Garrett "behind and between Heart o' the hills taxidermy and Kerrville Bus Co".  The business name has changed but they are still in this location today behind the taxidermy shop. The former Kerrville Bus Co. location is now the Kerrville Police Department.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Place Names: Hillcrest Addition

Following up on the study of place names, there is a neighborhood south of the public golf course known as the Hillcrest Addition.  A story in the July 25, 1940, Kerrville Mountain Sun, gave the origins of some of the street names in the subdivision. It was elaborated on in an October 30, 1947, story.

Myrta Street was named for Sid Peterson's wife, Wheless for Judge J. S. Wheless, and Prescott for E. H. Prescott, which the newspaper reported "all of whom were owners of the original site". Edward Prescott later was involved in developing Westland Place.
According to the October 30, 1947, Kerrville Mountain Sun, Judge J. S. Wheless was the legal advisor for the project. He served as mayor of Kerrville1920-21.
Edward H. Prescott was cashier at the Chas. Schreiner bank for 21 years, retiring shortly before his death in 1938. His obituary described him as a civic leader and "active worker for development of highways, summer camps, .... and other community improvements."

Bordered by Golf, Tivy, Myrta, Denton and Hillcrest Streets, Hillcrest was developed on Sid Peterson's land. Based on two ads in the Kerrville Mountain Sun in 1922 and 1923, it may have been the Hillcrest Poultry Farm (telephone 109U) before the land was subdivided.

The first newspaper mention of the subdivision was September 29, 1922, when the Kerrville Mountain Sun announced the opening of "Sid Peterson Hillcrest Addition". Once that section was nearly sold out, a second section opened in March 1924.

The plat map was published in the newspaper and revealed some interesting information.
The narrow street know as Denton in one section and Hillcrest along another section, appears to have originally been known as Hugh Street, but quickly was known by its current names.
Also, originally that part of Tivy Street was known as Cypress Creek Road, probably because it was outside the city limits. I have discovered that Kerrville has a history of changing street names at the city limits, and when the limits extend, the rural section is renamed.  Thus the northern stretch of Sidney Baker Street used to be known as the Fredericksburg Road. The last evidence of that was in the name of the Fredericksburg Road Church of Christ which recent changed its name to Highway 16 Church of Christ. I suppose there were some practical reasons for doing that, but the historian in me hated to see that happen.

To learn about other Kerrville subdivisions, go here.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Center Point School

These photos are from the July 13, 2013, dedication of an historical marker for the Center Point School at 216 China Street, Center Point.  This was the seventh historical marker in Center Point.
The school building, of native limestone, was designed by San Antonio architect Alfred Giles and built by J. V. Oppert. It opened for classes in the autumn of 1911 and has served the students of Center Point ever since.
Because of the small enrollment, for many years teachers taught combined classes.  First and second grade shared one classroom on the first floor, third and fourth the other. Fifth and sixth shared a classroom over the first and second grace, and seventh and eight were above the third and fourth grade classroom.  The high school students were in the central section upstairs.
Sibyl S., a 1931 graduate, remembered there was once a barn behind the school where students who rode horses or carriages to school would tie up their animals during the day.  The students would go out at lunch to feed them oats and check on the animals.
Later the barn was use to store athletic equipment before being torn down.

Architect Alfred Giles was well-known throughout Texas. He is responsible for about 90 buildings across the state.  Some of the other Kerr County buildings he designed were the Weston Building, the 1882 Schreiner Store, the Schreiner Mansion, and possibly the Favorite Saloon.

In time he purchased a large ranch in the area and named it Hillingdon after the town where he was born near London, England.

I was interested to learn that Center Point has a historical museum! Located in a small house across from the historic school building, its primary focus is historic school materials--athletic awards, yearbooks, etc.  However, there are three dioramas featuring Center Point.  Once shows the fairground, one the rail depot, and one the historic downtown along San Antonio Street.

It is amazing that a small unincorporated community can pull together a museum when the larger Kerr County community hasn't.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

341 West Water Street

Mrs. Theresa Heiman received a permit to construct this residence at 341 West Water Street in Westland Place in July 1947.  In March of 1951 she sold the house to Mrs. Hilda Neunhoffer Roessing. Hilda was the widow of Goswin H. Roessing who had died in 1935 in Hidalgo County.  She never remarried. In 1940 she was in Galveston employed as a typist for a life insurance company. In 1951 she returned to Kerrville, found work at the Veterans' Hospital in the Payroll Department, and purchased this house where she lived until shortly before her death in 1993.  Her obituary was very short, and while it revealed that she was a member of Eastern Star and a Presbyterian, did not include the fact that she was a member of the prominent Neunhoffer family.
Today, like others on this block, this house sees commercial use.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Place Names: Westland Place

Exploring in Westland Place, I became curious about some of the street names in the neighborhood.
While researching another topic, I came across a story in the Kerrville Mountain Sun July 24, 1940, which recounted the origins of some street names in Kerrville.  According to the story, Elm Street was named for the elms in the area, Lois Street is for Lois Fawcett Moore, Florence for Miss Florence Galbraith, and Lewis for Danforth Lewis, former owner of the development.
Since the newspaper said "The names of Circle Drive, Woodlawn, and Center are obvious", I will leave you, dear reader, to determine their meaning.
Left unmentioned are the following streets which according to the county tax records are also in Westland Place: Stephen Street, Milton Street, Rees Street, Stonewall Street, Josephine Street, Lucille Street, Ruth Street, Pershing Street, Lee Street, Patton Street.  These were named for people--but who?

The property was purchased from D. R. Lewis, and the original developers were Edward Galbraith, W. A. Fawcett and J. L. Pampell, E. H. Prescott and Hal Peterson being added later. I assumed that these were mostly the names of their family members, so I turned to census and cemetery records.

So here is what I have learned:
Florence Galbraith was the sister of Edward Galbraith, Lois Fawcett was the daughter of W. A. Fawcett,  Danforth Lewis, a native of New York, sold his farm for development just three years before he died.
Josephine Street was named for another daughter of W. A. Fawcett, Lucille Street for the wife of Milton Pampell. Both Eugene H. Prescott and D. L. Lewis had daughters named Ruth.  Ruth Street could have been named for either, but most likely for Ruth Prescott.  Just to buck the trend, Milton Street was named for the son of J. L. Pampell.  I do not know how Patton Street got its name.
Rees is an old Kerr County family. I have not been able to determine precisely why this name was chosen.  Pershing may have been chosen to memorialize the World War I hero who had recently died.
Stonewall and Lee MAY memorialize Civil War generals.  Of course they could also identify a road laid along a stone wall and someone named Lee.

UPDATE:  An article in the Oct 30, 1947 Kerrville Mountain Sun says Lee Street was named for Judge Lee Wallace and Jackson Street was named for Dr. J. D. Jackson.  Lee Wallace was County Judge at the time Westland first developed.

Can anyone add to this?

To learn about other subdivision in Kerrville go here.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

813 Clay Street

I have spent quite a bit of time looking for anything about this house at 813 Clay St. About all I have is a photo taken in 1988 that reads  "1988 owner--James R. Murphy,
built ca 1908-1912
Block G lot 5,6,8 [8 is circled] B. F. Cage add.
Grandfather Garrett purchased in 1919 on Govt. Ck.  Only original left on Clay Streeet from Barnett St. Has fish scale dormers.  Had lattice work on porch which has been changed."
What this means is that the house sits on three lots of Block "G" in the B. F. Cage addition to Kerrville. 
I cannot connect anyone surnamed Garrett to this property.
I have poured through old newspapers, census records, and deed books to try and determine who actually built this house and who the earliest owners were. The house could actually be older than indicated above, but who was the first owner? Do any of my loyal readers know more about the property?

ca 1988

Here's what I do know.
At the 1930 census, Kelley S. White rented this house and lived here with his wife Bessie and children Frank, Lena, Dorris, Mavis, Cecil, Gene, and Bessie J.  Kelley and Frank were newspaper printers.
In 1935 K. W. "Boss" Crawford lived here with his wife.
The 1936 city directory shows A. C. Bernhard now owned it. Nine people lived in this house then.
The 1940 census shows that William M. Murphy was now the owner.  The value was $2,500, and he was the owner/operator of a wood yard. Also living in the house were his wife Ella M., and children Annie, Minnie, Jimmy, Pauline, Douglas, and Martha J. The family still owned the property in 1988.
According to her obituary, Ella Murphy was born in Gillespie County and came to Kerrville in 1937. However, the 1940 census indicated she was already living in Kerrville in 1935. Before coming to Kerrville they lived (in 1930) in the Reservation community in west Kerr.  William Murphy died in 1953, his widow in 1973.
This is all fine, but none of it tells me who built the house, or when.  Any help out there?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

714 Bluebell Road

This ranch-style house at 714 Bluebell Road was built in 1950 or '51. The tax records say 1952, but since the first owners  arrived in Kerrville in 1950 and were settled enough in the house to host the Blue Bell Hills Garden Club in October of 1951, that date is clearly wrong.  George and Roberta S. Harley were the first owners.  I have not been able to learn who built the house, but I do know the Harleys purchased the property from the developer of Blue Bell Hills--realtor G. C. McCoy.  The house has been described as "solid" and well-built.  This house has beautiful shade trees in front, which unfortunately kept me from getting a good clear photo. It's better to take these photos in winter when the leaves are off.

George Foster Harley was a civil engineer with a specialty in hydraulics, supervising the construction of hydro-electric dams in several states.  In 1950 he retired from the Public Works Administration and came to Kerrville where he died in 1957.  Roberta Harley continued to live in this house until 1975 when she moved to Midland. They are buried in a family plot in Columbus, Georgia.

Cleo and Frank Prestwood were the next owners. A local newspaper noted that her collection of Lalique glassware was the centerpiece of the home they had furnished with a mix of antiques and modern furniture.  He worked in the wholesale grocery business, retiring in 1974 and moving to Kerrville. Prestwood married Cleo Burke, who was from Houston, after he retired.  A member of the Texas Rose Growers Association, his avocation was growing roses. Mentions of their home in the newspaper often included a description of the many roses used to decorate. Although it is never stated, I would not be surprised if these were his roses.  Prestwood died in 1989 and is buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in Tyler.  His widow kept the house three more years before selling. She died in 1996 and is buried in Galveston.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Blue Bell Hills Addition

Blue Bell Hills Addition is a subdivision northwest of downtown Kerrville along Jackson Road. It was developed on the old Bluebell Farm property beginning in 1947. The houses are mostly in the ranch-style popular after World War II.
The February 24, 1938, Kerrville Times reported  
Purchase of Bluebell Farm, adjoining the northern limits of the city in Westland, from the Otto Wahrmund Estate was announced Tuesday by G. C. McCoy, Kerrville realtor.  ... The tract includes 160 acres with considerable improvements.  The farm was established by the late Otto Wahrmund, San Antonio brewer, as his country home about 25 years ago.  For the present Mr. McCoy will make his home at the farm.  In the future, he plans to open a new city sub-division of choice building sites.
Two months later, E. H. McCoy arrived from Mississippi to manage the farm for his brother.
In 1940 part of the farm, about 15 acres, was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Guy Griggs. (Griggs was the executive secretary of the Peterson Foundation when it was formed in 1944 and served in that position until he died in 1980.  The now-demolished Gug Griggs office building next to the old Peterson hospital was named to honor him. )
In 1947, almost ten years after his intentions were announced, G. C. McCoy finally began developing the former farm property as a subdivision. 

Several news stories, more like puff pieces really, reported on the work at Blue Bell Hills. For example, in the Kerrville Mountain Sun for September 11, 1947, was the following item:  Blue Bell Hills Showing Signs of Development Soon.   Those who have driven out the Harper Road recently have observed the activity which constitutes the beginning of work on Kerrville's finest residential development.  The project, carefully planned and restricted by Hare and Hare of Kansas City, Missouri, planners of some of the country's finest subdivisions, will offer spacious building sites with all utilities and paved streets, according to G. C. McCoy, supervisor and manager.
(Hare & Hare was a pioneering landscape architecture firm. A number of their works are on the National Register of Historic Places. This neighborhood, which retains most of the original homes, is also eligible for listing on the National Register.)
The story continues: 
Scrapers, tractors and many kinds of heavy equipment have been at work laying underground utilities, channels and grading the curved streets which wind through the beautiful wooded Bluebell Hills.  It won't be long until the public will be invited to inspect the sites and see the outstanding advantages of owning a homesite in this beautiful restricted section adjoining the city limits of Kerrville.
L. A. Lawlor, who was formerly connected with a building and loan association and real estate firm in San Antonio for 18 years, is in charge of the field office which has been erected on the property.
Then on October 23, 1947, appeared the following:  
Building Program Begins Soon in Blue Bell Hills.
Construction of 14 new homes in the Blue Bell Hills will be begun this week by the Traylor-Hill Construction Company, according to G. C. McCoy, director of the estates.  This newest addition to the suburbs of the city lies along the Harper Road, and is on one of the scenic wood hillsides of that area.
Gene C. Traylor and Robert L. Hill, who have recently moved to Kerrville from Houston, will be in charge of the construction of the homes, and their aim is to complete one house each week, weather permitting.  ...
The two and three bedroom homes in the Blue Bell Hills will vary in design and materials. Some will be of stone, with ornamental iron trim, and others will feature the low, rambling roof pitches, materials and exterior designs will be so that the usual "sameness" to a new addition will not be apparent.  The colorful buildings have been due to conform with their locale, and the style takes advantage of the beauty of the natural setting of hills and trees.
And then one more from the Kerrville Mountain Sun on May 6, 1948
Paving Completed in Bluebell Hills Sub-Division.
Paving has been completed in Blue Bell Hills, Kerrville's attractive sub-division, and curbs along Blue Bell Drive, Pecan and Cypress Steets add much to the residential section of the city.  A number of attractive houses have been constructed and sold and owners are now living in them.  Grass plots, gardens, shrubs and flowers have been planted and are beginning to show growth.  L. W. McCoy, one of the owners of the sub-division states that electricity, gas, water and sanitary sewers have been installed and are ready for the builders.
The natural beauty of the plot, with all of its lovely trees and its wild flowers, has been left as much as possible.  The site was named for the Blue Bell Farm, which was purchased from the original owners for the sub-division.
Lots in the subdivision sold quickly. The Kerrville Mountain Sun reported on February 9, 1950, that  three new homes on Blue Bell Drive had been completed and that 88 lots had sold in the previous 2 1/2 years.  There are about 100 lots in the subdivision. As I noted above, the subdivision was designed by Hare & Hare of Kansas City and retains many original characteristics.  This is another unrecognized Kerrville treasure.