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?