Thursday, January 31, 2013

631 Water Street

Early 2012 photo
 I really want to share my latest discovery, so, fortunate readers, you get two posts in one day!

 I first wrote about this building on June 19, 2012.  At that time I titled it "Ward's Funeral Home" and said it was erected no later than 1918.  While that is not incorrect, I have learned much more of the history of this building. Rather than extensively edit that post, I am deleting it and posting this instead, mostly because I want to be sure my loyal readers see this updated information.

The startling results of additional research show that this nondescript stuccoed commercial building is one of the ten oldest buildings in downtown Kerrville.

The story of this building begins in the 19th century. On Feb 3, 1891, Charles Schreiner sold the 44x100 ft land this building sits on to William K. Sharpe "of Dover, New Hampshire" for $2000. [Sharpe was a wool buyer with Sawyer Woolen Mills of Dover.]  Since vacant lots were generally going for about $75 each, there must have been a building here.  I am still working to discover when the building actually went up, but it obviously was finished no later than January 1891. Most likely Charles Schreiner was responsible for having it built.

Building after 1929 remodeling

Photo here is of Pampell's.  631 Water St. building is visible at far right in this undated photo.
It appears on the 1898 Sanborn-Perrin fire insurance map labeled as a notions and millinery shop. At that time it was a wood frame building.   In 1904 an undertaker and a notions shop were here--presumably sharing the building. I doubt they were the same business!  The undertaker was probably the Smith and Ward Undertaking business (later John H. Ward Undertaking).   Within the next three years the undertaking business moved across Water Street to where the parking garage is today. When in 1907 the newly organized First State Bank of Kerrville moved in to this building it was still a wood frame structure.  Late in 1910, the bank moved to its new permanent location in the 800 block of Water Street.  By 1916, the building housed a millinery shop and plumber. Sometime between then and 1918 John H. Ward Undertaking moved back to this building. On June 23, 1922, the Kerrville Mountain Sun reported "John H. Ward is having a brick veneer constructed around his wooden building.  This plan of improvement is taken in order to save the excellent vault which is there, and which to tear down would cost considerable, while another would have to be built.  When completed, it will have the appearance of a brick building and make a considerable improvement to the corner."  This vault was probably installed when the bank was here.
Then in August 1924 the Kerrville Mountain Sun reported that the building had been undergoing a remodeling for the past several months, that more rooms had been added by removing part of the former building and adding on.
In 1929 Sid Peterson, for whom the hospital is named, purchased the building and business from John H. Ward and N. B. Smith and completely remodeled it.   After the remodel the business was sold to Edgar H. Fatheree and his father-in-law, Charles Neidert, and was renamed the Kerrville Funeral Parlor. In 1932 there was a corporate reorganization and the business name changed to Peterson Funeral Home.   The Peterson Funeral Home operated about two years before closing its doors.  The chief employees of the business established a new partnership called Fatheree Antony Funeral Parlor at 205 Water Street.  

By early 1935 this building was being called the Peterson Building and since that time has housed a number of small business offices.

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