Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Westland Hills

The first announcement of Westland Hills was in the November 26, 1925, Kerrville Mountain Sun: "Model Home to be Erected in Westland Hills".  A group of Kerrville businessmen had completed plans for "Kerrville's first model home" at Site No. 8, Block 51, facing on Circle Drive. It was to be of "natural beauty-stone of the Hill Country ... blending the unusual artistic lines of the cottage into the artistic emerald setting which has been chosen for the enterprise."  (That stretch of Circle Drive is now known as Jackson Road and is between West Main Street and West Water Street.)

"The winding macadamized drive will diverge from the main boulevard at its intersection of Circle Avenue and will lead the visitor directly to the entrance to the home."

"The house was completely furnished, lighted and heated by the merchants of Kerrville."

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Lowry Addition

Lowry Addition is the section more or less between Guadalupe Street, Town Creek, and Hugo Street. Guadalupe was once part of the old road to Ingram known as the Old Spanish Trail. Streets include Lowry Street, Hugo Street, Hamilton Street, Palmer Street, and Starkey Street. Hamilton is named for Jack Hamilton, Palmer for J. E. Palmer, and Starkey for A. L. Starkey.
Also in that area is Spence Drive, named for E. L. Spence who was the principal developer of the former Fair Grounds section. Marion G. Lowry's wife, Mary, was a Spence before her marriage.
Map clipped from Sanborn fire insurance map for 1930

The first mention of Lowry Addition is in the Kerrville Mountain Sun of March 16, 1907, were it is reported 
M. G. Lowry, who recently purchased the Mrs. L. A. Lowrance property near the fair grounds, consisting of about 60 acres, has had the same surveyed into town lots and will in a short time place them on the market.  Streets have been layed [sic] out and it will be known as the Lowry addition to Kerrville.  Mr. Lowry is now engaged in building a house in the new addition and more will be commenced soon.  There is [sic] eleven blocks in the addition and all are cut up into sixteen lots each making some very desirable building sites.  When placed upon the market, they will be put at reasonable figures.
I don't know for certain these are the first houses, but the first mention in the newspaper of a real estate transfer in Lowry Addition was in the Kerrville Mountain Sun for November 13, 1909, when it was reported M. G. Lowry sold to Mrs. Laura F. Hay, lot 7, Lowry addition, and Mrs. Alice Schumacher, purchased lot 8. Lot 7 is bounded by Hugo, Starkey, Lowry, and Palmer.  Lot 8 is bounded by Hugo, Palmer, Lowry, and Guadalupe. Each lot has several houses in it today.

There are a couple of buildings of special historical note here. At the corner of Guadalupe and Lowry is a rambling house that once served as a private sanitarium run by the Steifel and Anderson families called Hillcrest Sanitarium. Hillcrest Sanitarium should not be confused with Hillcrest Addition subdivision on the opposite end of town.
There is also a rock house at the corner of Hugo and Guadalupe that was once a small service station.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The female mayors of Kerrville

On May 17, 2016, Bonnie White, a local businesswoman, was sworn into office as the second female mayor of Kerrville.  But who was the first?  A little research showed it's been four decades since Kerrville last had a female mayor. 

The first female mayor was Zelma Boyd Hardy, who was mayor 1973-74 and 1975-76.  She was also the first woman on the Kerrville City Council, serving from 1970 to 1976.  According to her obituary in the March 12, 2003, Kerrville Daily Times, the city made many improvements to streets, upgraded the drainage system, and voted to build the city's swimming pools and Singing Wind Park. She was an English teacher at Tivy and later at Schreiner College (now University).  It was said she had a "way of making things happen."  Mrs. Hardy died in March 2003 in Stone Mountain, Georgia, where she had move to live with her daughter.   She and her husband George, a chaplain at the VA hospital, are buried at Fort Sam Houston.

40 years between female mayors.  Hopefully it won't be 40 years until the next one.