San Antonio Mennonite Church has had a home in the King William neighborhood for nearly three decades, although its building (at 1443 S. St. Mary’s) has been around for much longer. The red tile roof, white stucco walls and intricate windows make it a fine piece of Mediterranean architecture. Mennonites, having Anabaptist roots similar to the Amish, do not ordinarily worship in such fancy church buildings. Simple living is part of the faith tradition; but in the mid-1980s, a group of Mennonites began worshiping in the fellowship hall of the church, which at the time was Westminster Presbyterian. A few years later, the Presbyterian church decided to sell the building to the Mennonites.

Read more: San Antonio Mennonite Church

Every semester students in Professor Sinclair Black’s Urban Design Seminar from the School of Architecture at U.T. Austin come to San Antonio for a day long walking tour that they cheerfully refer to as the “forced march.” For the last few years I’ve been asked to be co-tour guide, and it was on this same tour with the same professor, a mere 30 years ago, when I first saw the house I live in now.

Read more: City Lights: December 2013

The evening of November 8 saw a celebration of the creativity of seniors on the lawn, verandahs and inside the beautiful rooms of the Commander’s House on S. Main Avenue. Musicians contributed to the atmosphere that the Commander himself would have appreciated. The fun and fellowship was undeterred by the few drops of rain on an otherwise lovely night. Director of the Senior Center, Gloria De La Cruz-Sandoval, and the Bexar Senior Advisory Committee and Entertainment, Special Events Subcommittee, along with a host of hard working volunteers deserve high praise for this event.

Read more: Local Seniors Share Their ArtAbilty in an Exhibit at Commander’s House

At SAY Sí, success is measured by artistic growth and personal development. It is recognized when a student learns a new technique, applies it in a finished project and shares his or her skills with fellow student-artists. This unique approach to education has placed SAY Sí on the national stage, with recognition as one of the top out-of-school-time organizations in the country by the Wallace Foundation, a national philanthropy that researches and reports on exemplary out-of-school-time organizations.

Read more: SAY Sí Recognized As One of the Top Out-of-School-Time Organizations in the Country

I’ve been asked to write an occasional column, and as most of my neighbors know, I have a problem with that little word “no”. Just can’t seem to summon it up when desperately needed. Of course, if one is going to write a column, it probably needs to be called something. What to do?

I was ruminating on this while doing what I usually do after a long day, sitting on my second floor front porch in the rocker I inherited from the last owners of my house. While sipping a glass of wine I was looking at the downtown lights twinkling among the silhouettes of the skyline. What I’ve come to love about my house is that it makes a perfect observatory. It’s extraordinarily tall, so the second floor porch is at the elevation of a more typical third story. The front porch not only frames a wonderful view of the Tower Life Building, it also looks toward the Tower of the Americas when the leaves are off the trees across the street.

Read more: City Lights: November 2013

For the first time, San Antonio was ranked on Bicycling Magazine’s 2012 “America’s Top 50 Bicycle-Friendly Cities” list. The bicycling culture of King William and neighboring Southtown communities helped contribute to San Antonio’s new-found status as a bike-friendly city. What makes King William so bike-friendly? For starters, a large percentage of residents use bikes to get around our neighborhood. We have bike lanes on two of our major thoroughfares: Alamo Street and Main Avenue. Furthermore, nine B-cycle stations are located within and around our community.

Read more: Bike Culture in King William

The Texas Commission on the Arts awarded the King William Association a $1,500 Arts Respond grant at its September board meeting for the production of a new walking tour brochure. We are very pleased to have been awarded this competitive grant.

The KW Public Art Committee is spearheading this effort with the brochure subcommittee, whose members include Jose DeLara, chairman, Patricia Duarte, Maureen Brown and Janis DeLara. The new brochure will cover the eastern side of the historic district, and include homes that the subcommittee members have researched.

When the U.S. Army declared the arsenal surplus property at the end of WWII, civic and business leaders saw an opportunity to negotiate to acquire the use of the buildings and grounds and to provide better connections for the south side to downtown. A proposal published in the San Antonio Light in December 1946 showed both Main and Dwyer extending through the property, together with Martinez extending east-west a bit south of today’s Cesar Chavez Blvd. Other news articles of the time showed the keen interest in these proposals:

Read more: Thoroughfare, Artery or Opening – Access is Vital

In September the King William Association received a Special Project Canvassing Sheet from the City of San Antonio seeking approval or objection and comments on HEB’s request to close S. Main Avenue between Cesar Chavez Blvd. and Arsenal St.

Before voting on HEB’s request, board members Max Martinez, Jim Johnson and Paula Cantrell, along with other concerned neighbors and our County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, met with Todd Piland and Dya Campos, HEB’s executive vice president for real estate and public affairs officer, respectively. We went to this meeting with a list of questions and concerns regarding HEB’s proposal. HEB’s representatives answered most of our questions by stating that details were not yet available. The board members who attended this meeting reported to the full board before the vote on KWA’s response to the canvass letter was taken.

Read more: S. Main Avenue at a Crossroads

The King William Association is a nonprofit organization with a small staff that cannot accomplish all that needs to be done. Plus, the KWA works on issues that can impact you. There are plenty of opportunities to invest your time and energy as a volunteer.

The committees listed in the current by-laws for which members are needed are: Membership, Finance, Planning, Fair, Community Concerns, Home Tour, Tourism Management, Newsletter and Publicity. Committees that facilitate programs are: Graffiti Wipeout, Public Arts, Sidewalk and Socials.

Neighborhood Watch Block Captains are also needed. Contact Patty Duarte at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

You can refer to your KWA directory, call the office at 227-8786, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for an explanation about a committee’s activities. Together, let us invest in keeping King William the best place to live and work!

Day 1

One of my favorite small towns happens to be in the second-largest city in Texas. Southtown occupies a two-square-mile swath just a few blocks below San Antonio’s touristy epicenter, but it’s much farther away in spirit. Encompassing stately neighborhoods, like the King William Historic District , and artistic hubs, like the booming Blue Star Arts Complex, it’s filled with free parking and beloved restaurants where locals outnumber visitors (try finding either of those near the Alamo). Pitching a Southtown weekend to my friends, I billed it as one part relaxing “nearcation” (“We’ll rent bikes and stay in a B&B!”) and one part anthropological excursion (“Forget the Alamo and yellow cheese. Let’s find the Beaux-Arts mansions and pork belly!”). They were dubious but game.

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San Anto Cultural Arts (SACA) approached the King William Association in January with a request to install ten “mini murals” measuring eight feet by eight feet around the neighborhood. In the spring, SACA conducted a community meeting to discuss what subjects the neighborhood would like to see in the murals. Based on community input, SACA students got to work creating some designs. At the June KWA general meeting, John Medina, Public Art Program Manager, presented their ideas.

Read more: Mini Murals Moving Ahead

The King William Scholarship Committee is delighted to announce the Brackenridge High School students who have been awarded 2013 King William Association Scholarships. This award will assist the students through four semesters.

  • Nancy Delgado – St. Phillips College, Psychology
  • Jaime Fraga, Jr. – San Antonio College, Criminal Justice
  • Miguel Velazco – St. Phillips College, Psychology
  • Keren Hernandez – St. Phillips College, Dental Hygiene

The students will be formally recognized during the September 4th KWA general membership meeting. Invited are the recipients, their parents and family members. Also attending will be the volunteer mentors who will support and be a resource for the students as they enter this exciting and challenging endeavor. A huge thanks to the mentors: Cherise Allegrini, Ryan Cox, Aimee Holleman, Jennifer Hussey, Karen Krajcer, Nathan Morey, David Murphy, Kara Myers and Penny Wiederhold.

- Jennifer Morey

When many people hear the word “Freemasonry,” they immediately have fantastical thoughts of secret handshakes, hidden treasures, and plots for world domination. Much of this mystique owes itself to movies such as National Treasure and The Da Vinci Code, which are peppered with Masonic myths. But as any good historian will tell you, myths are often based on a kernel of truth.

Read more: A Not-So-Secret Society: The Freemasons of King William

The King William Association By-Laws have gone through a lengthy review process, culminating with a set of proposed amendments that were presented to the membership at the June general meeting. At the direction of the KWA Board, the proposed amendments are scheduled for approval by the members eligible to vote at the annual meeting in September, in accordance with the current by-laws.

Read more: KWA By-Laws Revision

At the KWA General Meeting on June 5, 2013, H-E-B spokesperson Dya Campos announced that H-E-B had submitted a proposal to the City to build a grocery store at the corner of S. Flores St. and Cesar Chavez Blvd. In addition, Ms. Campos stated that H-E-B would be asking the City’s permission to close S. Main Avenue between Arsenal St. and Chavez Blvd. at an undetermined future date, regardless of whether or not a grocery store is built.

There is a process for any entity that wants to permanently close a city street, the “Closure, Vacation and Abandonment Process.” This is available for review online at the City Of San Antonio website under the CIMS department:

Read more: Potential Main Avenue Closure

There’s a new social network gaining popularity in San Antonio. It’s called Nextdoor, and it is a private social network designed to help neighbors connect and communicate. Different from email and Facebook groups, Nextdoor was designed from the ground up to help serve neighborhood-specific goals: fight crime, find lost pets, discuss neighborhood issues, organize yard-sales and community events, find baby-sitters and share recommendations on everything from restaurants to handymen.

Read more: Nextdoor Helps King William Connect Online

San Antonio’s Downtown Alliance presented its annual awards at a luncheon at the Westin Riverwalk on April 11, 2013.  Each year, Downtown Alliance recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to downtown with the “Downtown’s BEST” Awards. Initiated in 2001, the awards are divided among multiple categories that celebrate people, organizations and places that support downtown San Antonio, and is a juried event.  This year, two King William neighbors and the King William Association and were recognized.

Read more: KWA and Neighbors Win Downtown's BEST Awards

Several neighbors have been victims of one crime or another recently, ranging from thefts of porch furniture to home burglaries. Many of these crimes happened on or near King William street. In response, several King William street residents have organized a neighborhood watch group. The group's purpose is to keep watchful eyes on the homes and street, noting and sharing awareness of unusual activity. We've created an email and phone list which will allow us to keep each other informed. Four neighbors have volunteered to act as the block captain for the blocks they live on. The block capture each resident is informed of important information.

Read more: Focus on Neighborhood Security

We are pleased to announce a particularly wonderful King William Association River Concert series for 2013, featuring six concerts - one more than usual - with two new groups that promise to be very popular.

A nostalgic look back to 2007, the year the concerts began, will find us in King William Park with tall oak trees rustling and beautiful sunsets providing a perfect setting.  Sadly, those lovely oaks succumbed to old age and disease, leaving very little shade in the park.

Read more: Concerts on the River Season Opens