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.