Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Carriage House behind 425 Water Street

Until June of this year a small two-story building known as "The Carriage House" sat behind the Kerr Regional History Center at 425 Water Street. That small building is probably as old as the house in front, erected in 1914. This summer the building was removed as part of a "campus improvement" plan.The lower floor had suffered considerable water damage, but the upper floor had beautiful, fine-quality woodwork well worth keeping.
The Carriage House
The lower floor was removed and the upper floor, which was a self-contained apartment, moved to a lot in Ingram, the new owner hoping to sell it to someone who appreciated the quality of the building and materials.

Many people have talked about the beautiful woodwork on the second floor.  This week I was loaned some photos of the building taken several years ago.
It was indeed beautiful inside. I commend the purchaser for removing the house instead of tearing it down.

Prepared for moving
The interior woodwork

Another view of the woodwork

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Kerrville Regional History Center No Longer Managed by Kerrville Genealogical Society

This week the City of Kerrville ended the long relationship between the Kerrville Genealogical Society and the Kerr Regional History Center.  Here is the press release from the KGS concerning that.

For immediate release – Sept 8, 2014 – Kerrville, Texas

Kerrville Genealogical Society To No Longer Assist in Managing the Kerr Regional History Center
For more than 40 years, the Kerrville Genealogical Society has partnered with the Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library to provide genealogical research assistance to the community.  Since 2003, when the Kerr Regional History Center moved to the historic Scott Schreiner house adjacent to the library, the Kerrville Genealogical Society and a group of other volunteers have cared for the research materials housed in the History Center and have provided thousands of hours of free assistance to members of the public researching local and regional history.

On Sept. 8, 2014, in a meeting attended by the board of the Kerrville Genealogical Society, City Manager Todd Parton, Mayor Jack Pratt , City Councilman Gary Stork, Library Director Laura Bechtel, and Director of General Operations Kim Meismer, Parton announced that the Kerrville Genealogical Society was to no longer provide assistance in managing the Kerr Regional History Center.  Volunteers who wish to continue volunteering at the History Center must now go through the same process library volunteers do.

We believe the deteriorating relationship between the city and the board of the Kerrville Genealogical Society began in 2011 when the  Kerrville Genealogical Society discovered  that money from a trust fund that had been intended to benefit the History Center was being using incorrectly by the city. This error was initially corrected by the city when it was brought to their attention, but it is unclear whether the trust fund money is currently being properly used. A formal audit would clear this up.

The city has now decided that city assets should be managed by city staff. The city says it plans to keep the building open for the same hours it was open before, which would be 18 hours a week. However, this  potentially means 36 hours a week of additional paid staff time because, for security, at least two persons need to be available at the History Center when it is open.  This expense will have to be funded by city taxpayers.  In the past, volunteers kept the building open at no charge.

The Kerrville Genealogical Society is saddened by this move by the city of Kerrville. The Kerrville Genealogical Society has over the years spent thousands of dollars of its own money garnered from public donations purchasing such things as a microfilm reader, a refrigerator, and a microwave in the staff lounge, file boxes, books, and more.  Until the recent building renovations, required due to recently discovered structural problems, the city had spent virtually nothing on maintaining the building or its amenities. There seemed to be a lack of interest in the building. History Center volunteers cleaned the building, organized and indexed the collection of documents, and provided thousands of unpaid hours of volunteer time to assist the public. 

The Kerrville Genealogical Society will be moving its assets and materials from the History Center soon. Despite this, the Kerrville Genealogical Society will continue to offer high quality programs and a newsletter, and will be looking for a new home for its materials. In the meantime, we will do our best to handle genealogical and historical inquiries by mail or email. 

We may be contacted at

Friday, June 27, 2014

V-K Garage

This tile and concrete block building at 305 Washington Street was erected in 1952 for L. W. "Van" Vansant and John Klingemann for their new V-K Service Garage. Below is the January 14, 1953, advertisement from the Kerrville Mountain Sun for the garage opening.

Both were established auto mechanics.  'Van' Vansant had been been with a Ford agency for the previous 18 years, and in auto service for a total of 28 years. Johnny Klingemann was a veteran of World War II and had moved to Kerrville eight years earlier from Austin. 

Their business must have been very successful, because in six years they expanded their facility, more than doubling their floor space.  The owners Van and Johnny held an open house Saturday, February 14, with coffee and doughnuts.

A photo caption in the newspaper read:
Ready for their open house Saturday, L. W. Vansant and Johnny Klingemann are shown in their greatly enlarged V-K Service Garage.  Floor space was more than doubled in the addition, and the owners say it is the largest independent garage in the Hill Country.  Perhaps Van and Johnny are estimating how much coffee and doughnuts their visitors will need Saturday.

In June 1989, Belle Vansant's obituary appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times. She was age 88.  The obit reported she was a Georgia native and had married Lester Wilson Vansant in 1927 in Alabama.  Also a Georgia native, he died September 4, 1984, in Kerrville.  They are buried at Garden of Memories.
Residents of Kerrville since 1932, Mrs. Vansant and her husband were co-ownersof V-K Garage, where she served as bookkeeper for 15 years.  He retired from the business in 1969.

The other initial co-owner was John H. Klingemann.  By 1972 he had become a broker with John McCollom Realty. Klingemann, who was born in 1921 in Hays County and died in Kerrille June 21, 2008, is also buried in Garden of Memories next to his wife Virginia.
It appears that the business was sold about 1969, but I don't know the new owners.
The V-K Garage continued in business until early 2000. By April 2000 the business had closed and the contents were auctioned off.  In September of that year the V-K Garage became a stage for Playhouse 2000 while the city auditorium (now the Cailloux Theater) was being redone.  The small theater continues to host theater-in-the-round productions.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Update on "Trouble at the Depot--1915"

Several people have been working on the project to find out when the 1915 railroad passenger depot actually opened. You can read more about it here.
We now know that the lawsuit, claiming the new depot "inadequate and unsuitable and inconveniently and dangerously located", was instituted by Herman Mosel, the West Texas Supply Company, and Henry Welge.  Herman Mosel owned a saloon across from the old depot, West Texas Supply Company was a general merchandise business next to the depot, and Welge brothers had a feed and camp yard opposite the depot. They were unhappy that the passenger depot was moved two blocks away.  That must be why it was  called"inconveniently" located.  It was inconvenient to them in that they probably feared their businesses would be negatively affected by the move.  If people then were anything like today, that's  not unrealistic. Today people complain about downtown parking if they can't park directly in front of a store.  It's "too far" if they have to walk a block.

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

You can see on the 1916 Sanborn map where the businesses were located.  I've also included it on this page, but you can manipulate the map and see detail if you go to the direct map link.

Within a few years, all those businesses were closed.  Prohibition forced the closure of Herman Mosel's saloon in 1920. West Texas Supply Co. had been closed a long time by 1937 when it was remembered in a newspaper store.  In 1920 J. E. Palmer bought the old H. Welge residence and a half interest in the Welge store, warehouse, and camp yard, as well as half interest in the produce and feed business of J. W. Burney.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

G Street Bridge Inscriptions, Kerrville

Since posting this yesterday I have received new information, which appears in italics.

I know, I know, I haven't posted anything for weeks.  I know you've missed me. :)
There's been a lot going on.

An email came in this week about old inscriptions near the old G Street bridge in Kerrville, so a couple of us from the Historical Commission met the writer this morning. Here is what we saw...
 In the 1940 census are two men named Charles Durrin. Charles Durrin, the father, was 44, and was a proprietor of a cleaning shop.  His wife was Elva, age 37 I think.  His son was also Charles Durrin, age 18 in 1940 and working at a soda fountain.   It was probably the younger Charles Durrin who left his mark.  He would have been 13 in 1935.  They lived at 413 Lytle Street in 1930, and on Hwy 16 in 1940.

With the help of some others, I've learned more about Charles Durrin.
Charles Durrin  (son) continued in the clothes cleaning business. The business was located on Broadway.  Durrin's Cleaners was THE cleaners in Kerrville for many, many years.

Another carving reads David Robert Cason 1935.

From the June 6, 1935 Kerrville Mountain Sun.
Mr. and Mrs. L. E. Cason and children, accompanied by Mrs. Cason’s mother, all of Dallas, arrived in Kerrville last week end where Mrs. Cason and children will spend the summer.  Mr. Cason returned to Dallas Sunday, but will spend his vacation here later.
(They returned home end of July.)

This may be the family of David Robert Cason.  I don't see L. E. Cason in the census, so the initials in the paper may not be right.  It appears we have a couple of young teens in a flush of freedom having fun in the summer exploring.

Update: L. E. Cason is Lonnie Elihu Cason, a newspaper printer.  His wife's name was Golda Marguerite Cummings, known as Marguerite.  They divorced after April, 1940.  The Casons lived in Dallas, but visited Kerrville often.  They had three children.  The names of the two boys were David Vance Cason, born 1929, and Robert Freland Cason, born 1931. 

So it was actually two brothers, named David and Robert, not a boy named David Robert. They were ages 4 and 6 in 1935, so they most likely had some help carving their names.

Thanks Mike and Francelle for your help on this.

The last one may possibly read Flores M. W.  Can anyone help with this or add to the story?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Trouble at the Depot--1915

You never know when you'll stumble across an interesting little-known tale.  Yesterday, I did some research for the owner of Depot Square, and discovered a little known controversy surrounding the former San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad depot in Kerrville, now housing a restaurant--Rails-A Cafe at the Depot. The depot was erected in 1915 to replace an earlier frame one destroyed by fire. I have just discovered that the construction of this depot was so controversial that the debate appeared in papers across the state. 

A March 20, 1915, story in the Kerrville Mountain Sun reported that this new brick depot was to be ready in 60 days--in time for the summer tourist trade.  Newspaper accounts at the time suggest the depot was finished more or less on time, so that wasn't the controversy.  The story unfolds below.  It began with a lawsuit filed by certain currently unknown parties in Kerrville to prevent the use of the depot.

The first mention of the controversy appeared in the July 31, 1915, Mountain Sun. The newspaper reported the following:
The injunction suit against the San Antonio & Aransas Pass Railroad company seeking to prevent that compnay from using their new depot erected between Clay and Tchoupitoulas streets was heard in vacation by Judge Barney Wednesday.  General Attorney A. J. Boyle, General Manager J. S. Peter, Land and Tax Agent Geo. Chamberlain, of the Aransas Pass were among those in attendance.  Barnett & Geddie were attorneys for the plaintiffs.  The trial of the case consumed a greater part of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and resulted in the injunction being granted as prayed for. 
Have any of my readers heard this story?  Does anyone have any idea who the plaintiffs were--other businessmen, local residents, elected officials? 

The following appeared in the Galveston Daily News, May 10, 1916, p. 7, as part of the report of the regular monthly session of the railroad commission, which at that time actually concerned itself with matters pertaining to the railroad! 
Argument was heard in the Kerrville depot controversy, where there is a division between the mayor and some of the citizens.  Today's petition asked the commission to order the San Antonio & Aransas Pass Railroad to build and maintain what was characterized as an adequate passenger station at Kerrville, located on the old depot site and on the south side of the tracks.  It also protested against the petition of the mayor of Kerrville and the San Antonio &  Aransas Pass Railroad for permission to use the brick depot constructed by the San Antonio & Aransas Pass.  The new depot is declared inadequate and unsuitable and inconveniently and dangerously located.  There is a injunction pending in the courts to prevent the use of the depot.

Why was this new building considered "inadequate and unsuitable and inconveniently and dangerously located"?

The San Antonio Evening News of September 18, 1919, p. 5 reported that the Kerrville SAP Depot hearing had been postponed.
More items about the controversy appear in the Evening News for several weeks. Then the October 27, 1919, Evening News reported a resolution.
Order Will Compel Use of New Depot
Austin, Tex., Oct. 25?--Assistant Attorney General W. J. Townsend is drawing an order for the Railroad Commission which will require the San Antonio & Aransas Pass Railroad Company to use its new brick depot at Kerrville.  This follows the hearing and the two years' legal controversy.  Some two years ago the commission ordered the Sap to build a new depot at Kerrville.  The railroad erected a handsome brick structure, but on an entirely new site.  Its use was enjoined by certain citizens, and it has been closed for 18 months.  When issued the order now being prepared will permit the railroad to move into its new quarters.
Few 1919 issues of the Kerrville newspapers exist, so we cannot determine exactly when the passenger depot finally opened, but presumably before the end of the year 1919.

So, loyal readers, do any of you know more about the lawsuit or the parties involved or have anything to add to this story?  You can comment below, or email me at dgaudier at gmail dot com

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter a Century Ago

Union Church Building, 2002.
It's Easter time.  I decided to look in the old newspapers to find out how Easter was celebrated in Kerrville in the past. These are the highlights of Easter from about a century ago as reported in the local paper.

The earliest mention of Easter in the newspapers is in 1902 when shops were advertising Easter hats and bonnets. Few of us wear hats to church anymore, even at Easter; one custom seemingly gone with the wind.  However, secular customs common today were being mentioned in the newspapers by 1903--dyed eggs, baskets, and cards.
That year, the Kerrville Book Store offered "Easter Egg Dyes, Easter Cards, Easter Eggs, etc." The religious significance of the day was not ignored.  The Kerrville Mountain Sun of April 11, 1903, reported "Special Easter services at the Methodist church, Sunday, April 12.  Easter Music. Sermon on the resurrection by the Pastor". Oddly, this is the only mention that year of an Easter church service. There were probably others, but maybe they just didn't get their press releases in on time!

In 1905 the Famous (a retail store) offered Easter egg dyes with this comment: "Don't let the little ones pass Easter without rabbit nests and fancy eggs."  It appears by this time Easter  baskets were already a staple of Easter celebrations, although they were called "rabbit nests".

In 1906 there was only one Easter service in the city "on account of the illness of Rev. Jas. Drummond, pastor of the Presbyterian church, and the absence of Rev. J. T. King, of the Methodist church." "The Episcopal church was filled to its utmost capacity Sunday morning, and many were turned away for lack of room.  The floral decorations were exceedingly beautiful, the special music was delightful, and the sermon of Rector Galbraith was timely, interesting and helpful." I found it surprising that the other churches were unable to have even a lay preacher in the pulpit on Easter.  That wouldn't happen today! Someone would be there.

By 1909  worshippers could choose between services at the Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Catholic churches.  The Union Church was still in use, and was being shared by the Christian Church and Lutherans.  They were not mentioned as holding Easter services, so perhaps this was the a off-week for both. (The Union Church originally was shared by four denominations, who took turns using the building.)

In 1913 a Sunday school class had an Easter egg hunt on the lawn of the teacher's home--the first such mention in the newspaper.

Aside from the Union Church, only one of those early Kerrville church buildings--the first First Presbyterian church building--reportedly remains today, but where?  Can anyone tell me?  A picture of the church from 1916, and a fairly recent photo are shown here.

Original First Presbyterian Church, ca 1916.

Original First Presbyterian as a residence.

I'll close with this quote from the Kerrville Mountain Sun for April 20, 1920: "Whether you are Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Catholic or what not, Easter ought to be the one day in all the year when you would make a supreme effort to come to the Sunday morning worship of your church."  I hope you were there.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Center Point Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)--Early Pastors

I am currently pulling together material to apply for an historic marker for the 1891 Center Point Christian Church, said to have been organized in 1879.  While I have no reason to doubt it, I would like to document that claim as well as verify the names and dates of service of the early pastors.  Today I'm going to share some of my research with you in the hopes some of my readers can help.  In the great tradition of "crowdsourcing" I've already had help from several parties from the church and Kerr Regional History Center, but we can use more.

An undated handwritten history of the church states that it was established in 1879 by Greenleaf Surber.  I have searched through the U.S. Federal Censuses from 1850 to 1940 and can find no one named Greenleaf Surber.  There are men named Greenleaf (think of the poet John Greenleaf Whittier), but none of them have a surname resembling Surber.

On June 20, 1883, one G. L. Surber officiated at the wedding of Mary Mattie Caldwell and John R. Storms.  This is doubtless the man we seek.  It seems to be the only Kerr County wedding he officiated at.
I think the "G. L." stands for Green Lee Surber (or possibly Greenville Lee), not Greenleaf Surber.
G. L. Surber was born near Somerset, Kentucky, August 13, 1837, to Adam and Jemima Mercer Surber. Jemima died 1875 and Adam 1879 in Center Point.  They are buried in Center Point Cemetery.
At the age of 15 G. L. became a Christian and began to prepare for ministry.  He was educated at Transylvania University.  After ordination he went as a missionary to Australia, serving six years near Melbourne.  In 1872 he returned to America and took a pastorship in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.  There he met his wife, Jennie Givens.  Their two children,  Hattie and Lee Elwood, were born in Kentucky, Hattie in Sept. 1876, and Lee in Nov. 1878.  I believe the reason he went to Texas was the death of his father. Adam Surber, along with much of his extended family, had left Kentucky for Texas in 1873.  Adam died March 3, 1879, and was buried in the Center Point Cemetery.  I think G. L. came to help take care of things and ended up staying a while, seeing a need for a church in Center Point and elsewhere in Texas.  According to his obituary, "He labored six years in Texas and strengthened the cause both at Waco and Dallas building a church at the latter place."  I found in a Google book snippet that he was preaching at a church in Dallas in 1881.  Whether it was a regular pulpit or a special event I can't tell. We do know he was in Texas in 1879 or early1880 when photos was taken of children Hattie and Lee (which can be seen on, and when he performed the wedding of Mary Mattie Caldwell and John R. Storms in 1883. My best guess is that he was in Texas from 1879 to 1885.

From Texas he returned to Harrodsburg, Kentucky (for about three years), then spent eight years in Lexington.  From there he went to Nashville, Tennessee, where he superintended the Southern Christian College for two years. In 1898 he, his wife, and children moved to Payette, Idaho, where he spent the rest of his life.

Based on the evidence, I think it is very probable that G. L. Surber established (or re-established) the Center Point Church.  He had a missionary heart and had established other churches.  I don't, however, think he was here full time. Or if he was, he didn't stay long.

There is then a twenty year gap. They may have been served by lay preachers.

The next pastor on record is Kilby Ferguson in 1904. The Christian Evangelist newspaper for July 7, 1904 reported "Kilby Ferguson is now the minister of the church at Centerpoint, Kerr Co., Texas, having removed from Louisiana."  And in the Oct 29, 1904, Kerrville Mountain Sun was the following item: "Elder Kilby Ferguson, minister of the Christian Church at Center Point, called on our office Monday.  Mr. Ferguson is to preach in Kerrville hereafter on each fourth Sunday at the Union Church. He preached here last Sunday and is evidently hopeful."

 After that was Brother Jonathan M. Streeter/Streater/Streator, who served from 1905 to 1914.  In the July 15, 1905, Mountain Sun he was referred to as the new pastor of the Christian church, and in the July 29 edition he was described as "an earnest and forceful talker and is sustaining his former reputation as one of the ablest preachers of West Virginia".

Rev. V. R. Stapp is the next preacher I find record of--in 1915.  I don't know how long he served.  After that was Brother Perry E. Hawkins,  who was the pastor at the Kerrville Church beginning in June 1924 but also "filled his regular appointment at Center Point" from June 1924-1926, possible longer; T. W. Storms 1929-?; and H. Ellis Thomas, 1938. Beginning in 1940 the records are much more complete.

I would appreciate hearing from anyone who can add to the record of these early pastors.
Again, their names and probable dates of service are:
G. L. Surber 1879-1885 (on and off)
?? 1885-1903
Kilby Ferguson, 1904-05
Jonathan M. Streetor, 1905-1914
R. V. Stapp  1915-??
Perry E. Hawkins, 1924-26 (possibly longer)
T. W. Storms 1929-??
H. Ellis Thomas 1938 (possibly later, but no later than 1939)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

825 Earl Garrett Street

Things are not always they seem.  I've been trying to figure out when this house was built for a while.  The first mention of a building at 825 Earl Garrett Street is in an advertisement in the June 7, 1928, Kerrville Mountain Sun for needlework, "baby layettes a specialty."  Other ads beginning in 1929 offered rooms with light housekeeping.  The next mention is May 16, 1940, when Mrs. Della Sommers advertised she did dressmaking and needlework of all sorts. However, there is no property with this address listed in the 1936, 1940, or 1950 city directories.
Finally, I looked in the alphabetic name section of the 1940 city directory and have now figured out that the newspaper misprinted the address. In 1940 Della Sommers lived at 325 Earl Garrett--not 825!

So now let's explore the real history of this house.

According to the Kerrville Mountain Sun for June 14, 1918,"[a] deal was recently closed between Dr. A. A. Roberts and Tom J. Moore whereby Dr. Roberts purchased the residence property of Mr. Moore on Mountain Street." It seems he bought not just the residence property but additional land as well. It doesn't appear that Dr. Roberts ever lived on the property. He certainly never built a house on the vacant lot and there is no evidence he lived in the neighboring rental either.

The census shows some puzzling things. In 1930 the census taker recorded a house at 825 Earl Garrett rented by Jesse E. and Rose L. McCreary and one at 829 owned by Allie B. Burton. The 1930 Sanborn map shows houses at 821 and 829, so the census taker apparently made a mistake.   In 1940, just as in 1930, there was no house at 825.  There were families at 821 (Wm. Sullivan) and 829 (Allie B. Burton. )

 Dr. Alphonso A. Roberts was married twice, his second wife being Madona Roberts. He lived at 912 Water Street from 1892 to his death in 1948. The house is gone now. He was a director at First State Bank, served on the school board, and was a member of the Men's Club, a precursor to the Chamber of Commerce.
The June 1, 1966, Kerrville Mountain Sun described him this way: "He was a man, large of stature with heavy white hair and wore a beard, he had a kindly and gentle disposition and was often called "Santa Claus" by small children, who were seeing him for the first time.  He was a naturalist and was an authority on the native animals, flowers and trees of the area."

Dr. Roberts owned the land a long time, but after he died it changed hands several times in the next few years. His widow, on February 24, 1949, sold this property to Bradley and Gracey Mitchell for $10 "and other consideration". (His name appears as both Bradley Mitchell and Mitchell Bradley in the records. I think the surname is Mitchell.) They may have been the ones who erected the house, because the Mitchells sold the property to Jimmie M. and Hannah Sumner for $5300 on May 17, 1950.  The house turned over again in May 1951 when the Sumners sold to Leonard and Chloe Sharp, the sharps assuming the $4519.55 debt. (Leonard Sharp worked for the VA, receiving a 30 year pin in November 1959.)  Then in February 1952 the Sharps sold the house to R. L. Hardy and wife.
John D. and Helen Buckner, Kerrville Bus Company employees, owned the house from 1965-1972. It later had a series of tenants.

Friday, March 21, 2014

605 Earl Garrett Street

This Victorian at 605 Earl Garrett Street was erected by Banks B. Lowrance, a native of Mississippi.  I have been told this house was built in the 1890s, however Lowrance and his wife Linton did not purchase the land from I. N. Denton until May 4, 1904. They paid $45, a price that indicates a vacant lot. The house was probably built shortly after.

Banks Lowrance was a paperhanger.  On March 8, 1902, an ad ran in the Kerrville Mountain Sun "Lowrance and Goodwin.  Crackerjack Painters and Paperhangers.  Shop next to Dr. Palmer's Office." (Dr. Palmer's office was in the 600 block of Water Street.)
On July 26, 1902,  the newspaper reported "Lowrance & Goodwin left this week for the Shell Lowrance ranch on the Divide, where they will be engaged for the next two weeks painting Mr. Lowrance's house."

Politically active, Lowrance served as a city alderman 1903-1905. In 1920 he and Ben Smith were appointed judges for the municipal elections, then in 1926 he lost to Frank Moore in the race for Constable, County Precinct No. 1. That appears to have been his last foray into local politics.

His wife Mabel Linton Lowrance died of pneumonia died in 1932.
Her obituary from the February 4, 1932, Mountain Sun:
Pneumonia Fatal to Mrs. Banks Lowrance.
Following a brief illness of pneumonia, Mrs. Mable Linton Lowrance, 53, wife of Banks Lowrance, died Monday at the family home on Earl Garrett Street.
Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon from the chapel of Smith Funeral Home, with Rev. Clift M. Epps, pastor of the First Methodist Church, officiating.  Burial was in Glen Rest Cemetery.
... Members of Miss Hardie Avera's Sunday School class served as flower girls.
... Mrs. Lowrance was a native of Kentucky, where she was born November 20, 1878; but she had lived in Kerrville much of her life.  ...
Surviving are her husband, Banks Lowrance; her mother, Mrs. Nyal Estell Davis; a son, Howard Lowrance; two daughters, Mrs. Elvie Morgan and Miss Amie Lee Lowrance; two sisters, three brothers.
I've never heard of flower girls at a funeral.  Does anyone know what they did?

In 1934 "Miss Amy B. Lowrance " was in a car wreck.  The Mountain Sun reported it this way:
Girl Victim of Wreck Improving.  Miss Amy B Lowrance, 19, daughter of B. B. Lowrance, Wednesday was reported to be making satisfactory improvement from injuries received in an automobile collision which occurred Wednesday night of last week.
Miss Lowrance, who is at the family home on Earl Garrett Street, suffered a compound fracture of the pelvic bone.  ... expected to recover.  [She was thrown from the car when it was hit from the rear.]  On E. Water Street near the Lucas Cafe.
Five year earlier her father had been struck by an automobile at the corner of Main and Earl Garrett, knocked down and badly bruised.  He was also taken to Secor Hospital, but his injuries were not as severe as his daughter's.

Banks Lowrance died in 1941 and is buried at Glen Rest.
From the January 9, 1941, Kerrville Times: 
Rites for B. B. Lowrance, 70, Held Friday.
Attack of Pneumonia Is Fatal to Pioneer Man Who Had Lived Here 53 Years. 
Mr. Lowrance passed away on New Year's Day at 5 p.m. at the family residence, 605 Earl Garrett Street.  He had been in failing health for several months and was stricken with pneumonia, resulting in his death within a few hours.
Funeral rites for Banks B. Lowrance, 70, a resident of this city for the past 53 years, were held Friday afternoon from the Smith Funeral Home chapel with Rev. J. R. Hilliard, pastor of the First Methodist Church, officiating.  Burial was in Glen Rest Cemetery.

Born April 17, 1870, at Burnsville, Miss., Mr. Lowrance, as a youth of 17, moved with his parents to Kerrville in 1887.  He grew to manhood in the city and until recent years followed his trade as a painter and paperhanger.  Soon after Kerrville was incorporated he served one term as an alderman in the '90's.  [correction: 1903-1905]
While he was of a retiring disposition, Mr. Lowrance took an interest in public affairs and was an advocate of community advancement.  ...
Surviving are two daughters, Mrs. Elvie Morgan and Miss Amy Lee Lowrance, and one son, Howard Lowrance, all of Kerrville.  The grandchildren also survive.
For a bit of local color, B. B. Lowrance is mentioned in a March 12, 1936,  Kerrville Times story.
The first water delivery in Kerrville was water hauled from the river to individual water barrels all over the city.
"When housewives were low on their supply, they would hang out a red flag as a signal for more water. Wash day was 'Trades Day' to the water haulers, and businesslike and civic-minded, they did everything in their power to sponsor cleanliness in the community.  B. B. Lowrance, an old-timer here who remembers the conditions, says that red flags hung out by housewives for rush orders looked more like a small-pox epidemic or a modern communist uprising than wash day."
B. B. Lowrance's heirs transferred the property to A. P. Allison "assuming all taxes" in 1941. Allison made repairs to the residence, rented it to Cecil Roe for a while, then sold it to Ruby Phillips in December 1943 for $2,000.  
She later sold it to Delia Whitehouse, who owned it until 1954. 
It has had a series of owners since and since 1992 has had commercial use, most recently as a bed and breakfast.

If you have a house more than 50 years old that you would like me to research, please contact me at dgaudier at gmail dot com. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pursley's Jitney Service

1915. Kerr County Historical Commission collection.
Here I am, off on a tangent again.  I saw this photo in the Kerr County Historical Commission collection and was curious as to where it was taken. I thought it might be on Water Street, but turns out it's not. I now know that most of the buildings in the photo no longer stand. They were in the 200 block of Mountain Street (now Earl Garrett Street) and have been replaced by the Baehre Building. The only building that still survives is the rock building, a corner of which is on the far right in the photo. That building is the Weston Building, home to Francisco's restaurant.

On the bottom of the photo is written  "Pursley's Service Line 'Kerrville's Pride'."
From March 1915 to June 1916 W. W. Pursley "The Man that Put 'Jitneys' in Kerrville. Fare is 10 cents.  Will do jitney service out of town." advertised that his office and station were "next to" the Post Office.  Research shows that it was near, not next to, the Post Office.  In June 1916 he sold the business to Henry James.
During this time period the Post Office was in the Masonic Building on Mountain Street so that is where I began looking for the jitney office location.

This photo appears to show two wood frame buildings and a brick building.

The Sanborn fire insurance map was an important help to figure this out. To the left is a clip from the 1916 Sanborn map showing the stretch of Mountain Street between the Masonic building at the top and the Weston building at the bottom.  In between are three small buildings between the vacant Masonic Building and the Weston Building. Two of the buildings were frame, the one between was an iron-clad frame building. So the one that appears to be brick in the photo is not brick. The  map shows that two of these buildings were jewelers. That would mean that the remaining small building, labeled "office" must be the jitney location. From the photo above it is clear that the one right next to the jitney service office is a jeweler. (Note the watch-shaped clock outside.)  The other is probably A. E. Self's jewelry store.  It closely matches other photos of Self's.

I have uploaded the photo to  You can go there to see a comparison of the stretch in 1915 and today.  There are other Kerrville buildings there too.  To simplify the search, enter the zip code 78028 where it says "Where to."  Have fun!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

417 Elm Street

1932. Kerr Regional History Center Collection.
This Tudor style bungalow at 417 Elm Street in Westland Addition with delightful eyebrows in the roof was built by William W. Miller, Jr.  The neighborhood began developing in May 1925 when the first lots were auctioned off. I wrote about Westland here.

This house was one of the earliest built in Westland.  On June 23, 1926, Kerrville Development Company sold this lot to Miller for $250.  The deed carried the provisions that the building must cost a minimum of $2,000 to build and finish, and that it was a whites-only community. The only non-whites who could live there had to live in separate servant quarters at the rear.  This racist provision was, of course, voided by law decades ago.

On August 7, 1934, W. W. Miller sold the house to W. E. and Marian Hahn for $3,400.  There was a requirement in the deed that Hahn must carry insurance against fire and tornado.  Within the year the Hahns moved to Baca County, Colorado, and sold the house to Mrs. J. E. (Rose) McCreary "feme sole" for $2,500.  "Feme sole" means "single woman" and indicated she had the right to own property in her own name.  In this case she was widowed.

In 1936 her daughter and grandson were living with her.

On November 4, 1939, her son-in-law and daughter, A. Edward Granes and Emma Pearl Granes, sold the adjoining vacant lot, no. 11, to Rose McCreary for $300 and moved to Cherry Street.  She died 1941 and is buried next to her husband at Glen Rest Cemetery.

While researching this house I came across the best, funniest obituary I've ever seen.
It appeared on the front page of the Kerrville Times August 4, 1938.
Parrot, Hero of San Francisco Fire, Dies at 41.
Closing with peaceful death an adventurous, action-filled life of 41 years, during which he survived fire, earthquake, and revolution, "Polly", a parrot owned by Mrs. J. E. McCreary, 417 Elm Street, toppled over backward in his cage Saturday.
["Polly"... what other name could you possibly give a parrot?!]
"Polly", a native of Mexico City, was a cosmopolite, globe-trotter and and accomplished linguist.  He could converse both in English and Spanish. 
Highpoint in the bird's career came on April 18, 1906, in San Francisco when the great earthquake and fire destroyed the city and brought death to hundreds.  When the first major shock was felt at 5 o'clock in the morning "Polly," with cries of "Help!", awakened the McCreary household.
"Polly" had traveled across the continent, from San Francisco to New York.  He had been to Cuba and returned often to his birthplace, Mexico, a country which he left several times during revolutions, escorted by bullets.
"Polly" was buried under a rose bush, and his spirit doubtless has gone to the parrot heaven where a cracker can always be had for the asking.

After Rose McCreary died the house was rented out.
In 1953 the house was advertised for rent as a 5-room house.  By October, 1955, it was a 6-room house, so this may indicate an addition on the house.

While doing renovations, the current owners discovered evidence of a fire in the past.  Digging around in the old newspapers brought up the Kerrville Mountain Sun, Dec. 23, 1964, report that sparks from a fireplace had ignited the shingle roof. A few weeks later a building permit was issued to W. A. Sullivan to make repairs estimated at $1,500.

The next owners were members of the Leinweber family. Mrs. Lena Pearl Leinweber died here in 1976 at the age of 80.  She had been living with her daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Cid Bluemel. Sometime after Pearl died her daughter Ferne Eckert retired, moved home to Kerrville from South Carolina, and lived in this house with her husband Clifford Herman Eckert. In 1988 she was one of seven candidates for Kerr County Commissioner, District 1, losing to Dr. Gordon Morgan.
The Eckerts eventually returned to Summerville, South Carolina, where he died 2002.

If you have a house more than 50 years old that you would like me to research, please contact me at dgaudier at gmail dot com. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

602 Bluebell Road

This ranch-style house in Blue Bell Hills, erected in the early 1950's, has provided meeting space and parking for Trinity Baptist Church since 1990.
I wrote about the Blue Bell Hills development here.
There have been many property owners, few of whom lived here long--averaging about three years each until the church bought it. This won't be a particularly interesting blog post. Most of them weren't in the news much, probably because most didn't live here long. Perhaps one of you can add some color.

In November 1949, Blue Bell Hills sold to Jim W. Weatherby, trustee, part of lot 12 block 1 of the Blue Bell Hills Addition.  In August 1950, Weatherby in turn sold the property to Don and Marjorie Bowen who, two months later, sold the lot to Carroll and Ethel King.
The Kings may be the ones who built the house.  He worked for the Kerrville Bus Company before moving to Midland in September 1951. 
In the 1950 city directory the address does not exist.  In the 1952 directory the house was up, but vacant. As a matter of fact, the house was listed as vacant in all the city directories from 1952 to 1956, sometimes with the address of 600 Bluebell.

In 1952 T. O. "Dick" and Hattie Mae Midkiff sold to A. A. and Georgia Wehmeyer.  After Georgia died in 1954, her widower continued to live here until December 1956 when he sold the house to Paul Meredith.
In March 1957, the newspaper reported as front page news that Mrs. Courtlandt Eaton, age 73, of 602 Blue Bell Road, had died.  A native of Montreal Canada, Mrs. Eaton (nee R. H. Martel Davis) had lived in Golden, Colo., coming to Kerrville in September of the previous year.

James R. England purchased the property in 1958.  The April 2, 1958, Kerrville Times reported his arrival along with the news that his first duty was to go to Austin for a briefing.  Sgt. England was the new head of the Kerrville sub-district office of the State Highway Patrol.

The city directory reported that the house was vacant between 1962 and 1965.
Over the next twenty five years there were seven owners.
For those really interested other owners and residents include: 1967-1972 realtor Temple J. Duderstadt, 1975 Shirley Swindel, 1975-76 Dean Guy (who remodeled), 1977 H. Ellis Thomas who sold to Norman E. Mayfield in September of that year, September 1977-February 1980 Mr. and Mrs. Norman E. Mayfield, 1980-86 Mrs. Lillian D. Edwards; 1986 Marguerite and Floyd Forehand.  Forehand was a football, track and basketball coach at Peterson Middle School for a short time before going to Schreiner College (now Schreiner University) in a coaching position.

In September 1990, Trinity Baptist Church bought the properties at 602 and 606 Bluebell Road for parking. While 606 is gone, this house is not.  Instead, much of its lot was paved and the house used for church activities. Newspaper mentions call it the Trinity Baptist Annex.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

223 Clay Street


According to the Sanborn fire insurance maps, this building at 223 Clay Street
was constructed sometime between 1924 and 1930, and more likely close to the later date since the first mention in the newspaper was in 1931. (It was not on the map in 1924, but was in 1930.)

These two photos do indeed show the same building. The second story was removed in the 1950s when it became rickety and unsafe.

The first mention of this building was in the September 3, 1931, Kerrville Mountain Sun, when the following ad appeared: "Rusche Grocery, 223 Clay Street.  'The Store with Dependable Foods'--We Deliver."  In late March, 1931, Alfred Rusche had bought the Heiman grocery at the corner of Jefferson and Clay.  Within the next five months he moved the business one block down the street to this building.  He was in business in this location less than two years. By March 2, 1933, Rusche had moved to the Brown Building at the corner of Earl Garrett and Main and opened a Maytag dealership in conjunction.

The September 7, 1933, Kerrville Mountain Sun reported the following
Bud Neely Opens Grocery Store at 223 Clay Street.
Bud Neely, who has been connected with the grocery business for a number of months in Kerrville will open a new grocery store Friday at 223 Clay Street.  The store will be known as the C. O. D. grocery, and will be a serve-yourself store with the additional features of a delivery service on orders telephoned where the amount purchased is one dollar or over.
The building in which the store is to be operated was formerly used as a grocery and was known as Ruche's store.  Mr. Neely has had the building entirely renovated and redecorated. The stock is being placed on the shelves at this time. ...
The six weeks later the following item appeared in the Kerrville Times:
"Bud" Neely in Water Street Location.
...Mr. Neely expects to move the stock of groceries from his present establishment, the C.O.D. Grocery at 223 Clay Street, to the Kerrville Food Store.  The new institution willbe known as the C.O.D. Grocery,  He will close up the 223 Clay street place, and concentrate all of his business at the new location.

The next mention is a report in January 1934 that the "[o]ffices of the Kerr County Board of Welfare and Employment were moved early this week from the Brown building on Earl Garrett Street to 223 Clay Street."
It was followed by D-C Cleaners, a firm owned by Nelson Davis and J. C. Cavness, which offered cleaning, dyeing, and general tailoring. Although ownership changed in 1945, D-C Cleaners continued from October 1937 to June 1948.
When it was D-C Cleaners

 In June 1948 John Potts Weatherford, from Amarillo, purchased the business from Bernard Sherlock and changed the name to Potts Dye Works.
Although one story today, during the early years there was a second story apartment. It was frame construction and probably intended as living quarters for the business owner.  The 1936 city directory shows tenants living upstairs.  I found one newspaper announcement indicating use as a rental apartment.  The June 11, 1942, Kerrville Mountain Sun reported
Daughter's Marriage Announced
Mrs. Mary Brusher has announced the marriage of her daughter Mary Patricia, to Frank James, Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank James.  The ceremony was performed in Boerne on April 7.  Mr. and Mrs. James are residing at 223 Clay Street.
They would have occupied the now-removed second story.

E. B. Meeker & Sons feed store was here in 1951, then in March 1952, Charles Adamek purchased the land and building from the executors of the estate of Richard Holdsworth, deceased.  Adamek immediately obtained a permit for building alterations. When completed he moved his business, the Kerrville Saddle Shop, in.
The Adameks ran the Saddle Shop here from April 1952 until retirement in 1978.
A  western store followed, until early 1988. It has since been home to a taekwondo studio, then a music studio.

Article updated April 4, 2018, to include D-C Cleaners photo.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

840 Earl Garrett Street

An earlier survey of historic homes in Kerr County called this the Sid Peterson home. One might just as well call it the A. M. Kennedy house.
Its porch architecture, the most notable feature, is described this way: "Classical Revival use of simple double and single Doric columns to create a large southeast porch, a popular form of the early 20th century."

ca 1988. Kerr County Historical Commission Collection.
This house was built for Austin Milton Kennedy in 1914 and was owned by several business and political leaders over the years.  A. M. Kennedy died from tuberculosis on July 19, 1914, before the house was finished.
Austin Milton Kennedy was a Texas state representative and speaker of the Texas House during the 31st legislature (1909-1910).  Sam Rayburn, who later became Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, was one of his honorary pallbearers.
He purchased a lot 100'x200' from B. F. Hicks on March 23, 1914, for $150 ($50 cash and $150 note) and began work on the house. It appears the house was unfinished when Kennedy died.  On August 7,  three weeks after his death, A.M. Kennedy's widow, Marion, transferred the property "having a residence thereon built by A. M. Kennedy" to James M. Kennedy for $2500 and assumption of the note to B. F. Hicks.  James Kennedy may be a relative, perhaps a brother, but I haven't been able to find A.M. Kennedy in the census before 1900 to determine that.

On October 9, 1919, J. M. and wife Sallie Kennedy sold the property to H. C. Geddie and Lee Wallace for $1800. (Geddie was the mayor of Kerrville and Wallace the Kerr County Judge at the time.) Four days later, Geddie and Wallace sold to Sid and Myrta Peterson for $2,250.  Sid Peterson is the man for whom the local hospital is named.  He and his three sons had heart conditions and knew first hand the difficulty of traveling the 60 miles to San Antonio for anything more than basic medical care.  After he died in 1939, in San Antonio, his sons vowed to build a modern hospital to Kerrville. The hospital admitted its first patients in July 1949.

Sid Peterson had many business interests. He was the founder of Peterson Auto Company and Garage, the Kerrville Bus Company, the American Pure Milk Company, and the Peterson Farm.  He also owned a ranch in Edwards County.

They lived in this house about ten years.  In February and March 1929, Sid Peterson and Newton B. Smith swapped several pieces of property, including an undertaking business and this house, which on March 5, 1929, the Petersons sold to Newton B. Smith for $11,000 "Together with all improvements thereon and all household furniture and fixtures now contained in the dwelling house situated on said land." Smith had been a "popular" undertaker in Kerrville. After the sale he became an agent for the Magnolia Petroleum Company. In 1931 Newton Smith sold to his niece Nelly Smith, who lived with him, a 60'x80' piece of this land.  In 1942 the house was inherited by his daughter Leona Rawson. In December 1943 she sold the property to chiropractor Francis G. Bailey, who moved his office here from 1613 Broadway.

In 1947 a part on the corner of Myrta and Earl Garrett Streets was sold to Sam. H. Taylor and W. B. Priest to build apartments.  In 1959 it was bequeathed to the Methodist Home Foundation. In June 1971 they sold it to Kenneth and Glenda Greeson who owned it until selling it in 2005 to Lifestyle Homes, LLC.  Today it houses small offices.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

328 Hays Street--Helping build a photographic history

The focus of this blog has been exploring the built environment of the Hill Country, with an occasional side trip.  I have several building histories in the works with I need to finish, but today I'm doing something different to introduce you to a new website I've just discovered

This is the Collins Company building.  Its address in 1932 was 328 Hayes Street, but that address today is part of the HEB employee parking lot on Hays between Main and Jefferson Streets.  This photo was taken in 1932, but when I looked at the 1930 Sanborn fire insurance map, there was no building in that block that matched this.  I turned to and found a number of news items about the Collins Company, a wholesale grocery business.  Here's one from the July 10, 1931, Kerrville Mountain Sun.
Collins Company Again Victimized by Burglars; Loot Valued at $1,000.
For the third time in recent months, the Collins Company, wholesale grocery firm, Tuesday night became a victim of cigarette thieves who made away with a large haul.
The loot consisted of 14 cases of cigarettes, valued at approximately $1,000.  Entry to the warehouse, corner of Schreiner and Hays Streets, [emphasis mine] was gained by breaking the lock on a rear door.  ...
It is believed that an organized band of cigarette thieves is at work in this section, since similar robberies are occurring frequently in small cities and towns surrounding San Antonio.

Some building numbers have changed over time, this being one of them.  The Sanborn map showed that this business once was located in the same block where the city recycling center is, in the corner nearest the traffic light. 

You can find this photo and others at a new website .  It ties historical photos to modern locations using Google maps, building a photographic history of the world. I have put a number of Kerr County photos up--as well as couple from other places.  You can link to it from Facebook as well.  Come join me!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

235 Earl Garrett Street

This small building at 235 Earl Garrett Street was built sometime between 1904 and 1910. It has a distinctive skylight, a feature I've not seen in any other local building of that period.
The Sanborn Fire Insurance maps show that in 1904 there was a frame building at this approximate location. By 1910 it had been replaced by this stone building and housed a jewelry store. In 1916 it was a jewelry and millinery shop.
There is a gap in the record between 1916 and 1925.

In January 1925 Isaac W. Van Hoozer purchased the dry good and grocery stock of bankrupt J. W. Burney's store on Schreiner Street and moved it to the building Van Hoozer owned on Earl Garrett, "next to the Kerrville Tailoring Company" according to the February 19, 1925, Kerrville Mountain Sun. Van Hoozer had remodeled and refinished the building and opened the store for business the previous Monday morning (February 16).
Also in January, 1925, I. Van Hoozer, along with other property owners on Earl Garrett Street, was assessed for street repairs. (I was reminded of the game Monopoly!) His assessment was based on owning 13 feet of frontage on Earl Garrett.  The other property owners on the block were M. F. Weston who owned 129 feet; A. C. Schreiner, 50.5 feet; E. E. Dietert 31.0 feet; E. Hawes, 78.9 feet; Sid Peterson 75.5 feet; and C. Wheelus 43.1 feet. (Wheelus owned the Guthrie Building.)

Van Hoozer's business didn't last long, because the July 7, 1927, Mountain Sun reported the following: "Richard Smith, John Burkhardt, and Charles Durrin have opened a restaurant and lunch on Earl Garrett Street in the building formerly occupied by the grocery of I. W. Van Hoozier [sic] & Son.  The interior of the lunch room, which is under the management of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Durrin, is nicely arranged." There is no indication of the name of this business.  Durrin had previously owned a lunch room called the "Midget Lunch Room", also on Earl Garrett Street, and later owned one in the 800 block of Main Street.

The next mention in the newspapers of a business at this location is the Post Office Barber Shop, which is mention for the first time in the newspaper in 1936--the year the new Post Office opened in Earl Garrett Street. This is very likely the same time the barber shop opened. It was owned for many years by W. L. Tillson. When he retired in 1973 he sold to John F. Tom.

When, after many years the Post Office Barber Shop closed, it was followed by the Smokehouse, which sold tobacco products and paperback books. The Smokehouse moved from an earlier location on Water Street. This building is still often referred to as "The Smokehouse" even though it most recently was a law office.

An interesting item I found is the fact that after Isaac Van Hoozer died his son Floyd sold off part of the building, keeping one side, renting out part.  The other part may be in the area where the small garden is today, but I am not sure.  I need to spend more time in the deed books. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Texas Treasure" Business Award

The Kerr County Historical Commission is compiling a list of businesses in Kerr County that qualify for the "Historic Business--Texas Treasure" award.
This award recognizes Texas businesses "that have provided employment opportunities and support to the state's economy for at least 50 years."

The full requirements can be found at the above link, but in general, businesses must have been in continuous for-profit operation in Texas for at least 50 years and must continue to operate the same or very similar business.  The business may have changed hands.  Businesses that have stayed in the same family or have operated from the same place for more than 50 years get special recognition. 

The business gets an attractive certificate to hang on the wall--which it agrees to display. 

Mosty Brothers Nursery, Center Point, est. 1897, is the first business in Kerr County to receive this award.

Here is a list of other for-profit businesses based in Kerr County that appear to qualify.  There may be more. City is Kerrville unless otherwise indicated.

  • Have been in continuous for-profit operation in Texas for at least 50 years. 
  • Continue to operate the same or a very similar type of business as it did at least 50 years ago.
  • Have a continuous record of employment for at least the past 50 years.
  • Continue to operate as an independent, for-profit business (i.e., it cannot be operating as a subsidiary of or have been absorbed into another business)
  • Maintain a good business relationship with the state.
  • - See more at:
    • FIRST Insurance Agency of the Hill Country, 1890.
    • T. J. Moore Lumber Yard, Ingram, 1892. 
    • Kerrville Daily Times, 1910.
    • Sanchez Barber Shop, 1911.
    • Garrett Insurance,  1918.
    • Grimes Funeral Chapel, 1920.
    • Camp Rio Vista, Hunt, 1921.
    • Camp Stewart, Hunt, 1924.
    • Kerr County Abstract Company, 1924.
    • Camp Waldemar, Hunt, 1926.
    • Camp Mystic, Hunt, 1926.
    • Camp La Junta, Hunt, 1928.
    • Camp Waltonia, Hunt, 1928.
    • Crider's, Hunt, 1926.
    • Mosty's Garage 1926. 
    • Kerrville Bus Company, 1929. 
    • R.C. McBryde Oil, by 1931. 
    • Fidelity Abstract and Title,  1936.
    • Heart of the Hills Taxidermy,  1937. 
    • Kickapoo Kamp, 1943.
    • Del Norte Restaurant, 1946.
    • The Hunt Store, Hunt, 1946. 
    • Mooney Aircraft, 1946.
    • Heart O' the Hills Camp, Hunt, 1949. 
    • Hill Country Telephone Cooperative, Ingram. 1951.
    • Hester Window Coverings, 1951.
    • Bernhard's Meat Processing and Market, Ingram,  1952.
    • Hill Country Affordable Motors,  1954.
    • Hunt-Ingram Gas Company, Ingram, 1955.
    • The Rose Shop, 1955.
    • Inn of the Hills, 1963.
    • Herring Printing, 1964.

    If you have others to add to this list, you can comment below or contact me at my blog email address, dgaudier at, and I will update this list.

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

    Center Point Depot

    1939.  Kerr County Historical Commission Collection.
    Date unknown.

    The peripatetic 1877 San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad Depot of Center Point, has returned to Center Point from Boerne and is being restored.  It is now in a historic park on San Antonio Street.
    The depot has not just seen a lot of travelers, it has also done a lot of traveling.  It isn't unusual for old buildings in Kerr County to be moved to new spots.  It is unusual for one to move multiple times.
    The depot was closed after the last train ran in 1971. A story in the September 1, 2012, Kerrville Daily Times, about the return of the depot to Center Point said that in 1984 it was moved to Kerrville where it then served as a private home for almost a decade. 
    C.D. Peterson was the one received a permit to move the depot to Kerrville in October 1984. While in Kerrville it was located near the corner of Texas 16 North and Loop 534. A few years later it was sold again and moved to Boerne where it housed offices for a few years. The Center Point Historical Preservation Association raised the money to move the depot back to Center Point in 2012, and is now raising money to complete restoration of the building.

    The January 24, 1995, Daily Times reported on an effort by the Comfort Area Development Board to move the depot to that community. The project was apparently unsuccessful. That story called this the second depot building in Center Point.

    The December 5, 1984, Kerrville Mountain Sun recounted the memories of Fred Toler, who was a railway agent at Center Point in 1934-35, then again from 1937 for a while. He tells this story:
    One day Mr. Holchak [the Southern Pacific agent in Kerrville] told me that the agent's job at Center Point was coming open and he thought I could handle the job. ... Myrtle Elizabeth Baker and I ... decided this was our chance to get married.
    ... Myrtle and I went down to Center Point and looked things over and as we would be flat broke until we received our first pay check we decided to move into a large room connected to the depot.
    Myrtle's mother gave us a table and two chairs, my mother contributed a bed and mattress, the kinfolks gave us a shower of household goods.  
    We had no honeymoon as we had to go to work the day after [we were married].
    The Center Point job paid $50 per month, which looked like a small fortune to us.
    The first night we stayed in the depot we had just laid down when we heard a commotion and looking out the window we saw about fifty people coming towards the depot.
    We were both somewhat uneasy, but I put my clothes on and went out to see what was up.  A man named Frank Lane headed the group and he told me that it was customary whenever anyone got married in the town to "chiveree" them.
    Mr. Lane explained that it was the town custom to "serenade" newly couples and that we were supposed to furnish refreshments.  They had brought along a fiddle and guitar player and we would have a dance.
    The only refreshments we had was coffee, but they didn't seem to mind.  So the music was set upon the large outside unloading platform and the dance when on until about midnight when everyone went home.
    ... About the time we received our first check the Superintendent of the S.P. dropped off a train one day and told us we would have to move out of the Depot and rent a house.  
    We rented one-half of a duplex for $12 a month.  It was one of the few houses in town that had inside plumbing." 
    A true luxury!

    After about a year he was transferred to Fredericksburg Junction, about five miles below Comfort, the first of several transfers in his railroad career. (Fredericksburg Junction should not be confused with Frederickburg. It sat in the middle of nowhere and was the spot where the Fredericksburg and Northern Railway connected with the S.A.&A.P.)