Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Four more historical markers approved

Kerr County has a rich history, and a collection of more than 80 state historical markers proves that. Today the Kerr County Historical Commission was notified that four additional places in the city of Kerrville have been approved for markers.
It will be many months before the marker installations and dedications but I thought I'd share this good news. Click on the links for more about these buildings.

The first three places are being named Registered Texas Historic Landmarks in recognition of their architectural and historical significance.
They are the Kennedy-Peterson House on Earl Garrett Street,
and two buildings on the Depot Square:
Kerrville Lumberyard (a.k.a. Beitel's Old Place, now used as an event center) and
Kerrville Depot (currently home to "Rails, a Cafe at the Depot").

The fourth place is Barnett Chapel Methodist Church, which is receiving a subject marker in recognition of its long rich history of service dating back 120 years.

Congratulations to those who have worked to preserve and protect our historic built environment.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

400 Earl Garrett Street

Now at 728 Jefferson Street, Kerrville, Grimes Funeral Chapel's original address was 400 Earl Garrett Street. The building was purpose-built in 1930 for Smith Funeral Home as reported in the Kerrville Times of 3 July 1930.

Work Begun on New Funeral Home
Work began Saturday on a building at the corner of Jefferson and Earl Garrett streets to be occupied by the Smith Funeral Home, Dick Smith proprietor.
The funeral home is to be a two story frame building, 75X49 feet. The lower floor will be used for the funeral business and on the second story will be located the show room and some living apartments.
The Remschel Lumber Co. was awarded the contract for the building at $7,000.  Mr. Buffington has the carpenter work in charge.
The old Hazlett home stood on the corner upon which the new Funeral Home is being erected, and more recently owned by Judge Wallace from whom the property was purchased by Smith.  The residence has been moved to the rear of the lot and will face Earl Garrett Street.  The building for the Funeral Home will be completed in about 60 days.

When it opened, a new Packard ambulance was featured. 

Dick Smith had been the manager and funeral director for Peterson's Funeral Service prior to going out on his own. Peterson's was located at 631 Water Street. (The link takes you to an interesting story of one of downtown's oldest buildings.)
An addition was put on in 1966 by the Plummers, adding a new chapel facing Jefferson "adjoining the present location".  The business name has changed over the years.At this location it was known first as Smith Funeral Home, then Plummer-Smith (1951), followed by Grimes Plummer (1977), and then the current Grimes.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Lemos Street business district

Undated photo, probably 1980s. Kerr County Historical Commission Collection.

Once upon a time Kerrville was segregated into three groups--white, black, and Mexican.  Each group had its own commercial area.  Lemos Street was the heart of the commercial area for what was then called the Mexican community. Part of the 1930 Sanborn fire insurance map is shown here.
In 1930 the commercial addresses in the 300 block on Lemos (between Main and Jefferson) were:
305, 306, 317, 319, 324, 326-328, and 330. Of these addresses in 1930,  only 305 (Wahoo's Seafood) 317, and 319 remain.

305 Lemos has had a variety of occupants over the years.  In 1926 Pedro Calderon had a shoe repair shop. It was vacant in 1964, and housed Bennett's Radio & TV 1968. By 1983 Hill Country Pest Control was located here. They remained at this location for about 25 years.

317 Lemos was known as Henry's Place, a bar and cafe, in 1940 to at least 1947, possibly longer. It does not appear in some city directories  and gets little mention in the newspapers and for that reason I have not been able to piece together much history.
(Note: a demolition permit was issued in 1964 for 317 Lemos so it may not even be the same building.)

319 Lemos housed a series of cafes and bars for many years. I don't have a full list of business names.  The first known was the Monterey Cafe, owned by G. M. Flores from at least 1928 to 1936, possibly longer.

Monterey Cafe. undated. From Kerr County Historical Commission collection.

Later Magdaleno Gonzales, a cook at the VA Hospital, operated a bar, cafe, and pool hall here, from about 1950 when he made alterations to the property in 1950. He owned it until 1957 when "A fully equipped cafe" was offered for sale.  It was Joe's Place 1963-1968, and  Aleman's Place by 1987. After some 65 years as a bar and cafe, the building experienced a complete change of purpose when Faith Temple Gospel Church purchased the property and worshiped here from 1994 to 2006.

The schools, churches, the Mexican Union community building, and most of the old commercial buildings are gone.  Along with a barber shop on Main Street, only this small stretch remains.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Fawn Valley Estates

This neighborhood doesn't have as interesting a story as some do--at least not that I could find!

Fawn Valley Estates, which was developed by the Scotch Investment Company of Houston, lies  between Bluebell Addition and Harper Road. The streets include Lake Drive, Hancock Drive, Warbler Drive, and Temple Drive. Approved by the Kerrville City Council in February 1962, in March it was referred back to the planning and zoning board for changes along the right of way along Harper Road. In May it was annexed to the city.
The first mention of a home for sale in Fawn Valley was in March 24, 1963, when a three bedroom, two bath house of white Austin cut stone--still under construction--was advertised in the Kerrville Mountain Sun. Most of the houses are constructed of brick in a mid-century ranch style.
 In October 1963 Fawn Valley residents, who had been on a rural route, began receiving city mail service. The post office gave detailed instructions on placement of mail boxes, which the Kerrville Mountain Sun dutifully reported.
Development seems to have peaked about 1967.