Like an elegant lady who’s ready to show her face again, 202 King William sits proudly on a prominent corner opposite the King William Park. She definitely commands a second look.
Augustus Koch’s 1873 Bird’s Eye View map shows Malvina Nelson’s house at 202 King William to be a one-story structure. In 1883, Nelson sold the house to Francisco Ruiz and by 1889, the house had been enlarged, clad with brick, and had gained a second story.
The Ruiz family lived in the house until 1903 when it was sold to D. J. Woodward, owner of the Woodward Carriage Company. Woodward added elaborate porches across the front and also a rear addition as evidenced by the 1904 Sanborn Fire Insurance map. When the house was sold at public auction in 1971, those fine porches were long gone. The new owner remodeled the house into six apartments.
Forty-three years and several owners later, the old mansion had fallen into disrepair and was suffering serious neglect when, in 2014, it was purchased and beautifully restored by Juan Fernandez to be his family’s home. Today, the house looks exactly as it did in 1904 after Woodward’s porches were added.
- Bill Cogburn
Sources: The King William Area, A History & Guide to the Houses by Mary Burkholder, KWA archives