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.

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