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. 

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