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.