Tastes change, styles change. What’s popular today is passé tomorrow. So it is with architecture.
Take the Cook/Keating house at 222 King William Street, which began circa 1890 as a one-story caliche block house. In 1895, George Kalteyer bought the property at a sheriff’s auction for $2700. In 1906, his granddaughter, Minnie Kalteyer Cook, inherited the house. She and her husband, Dr. Fred W. Cook, president of the San Antonio Drug Company, added a second story as well as a porch and Mission style parapet under the guidance of architect Atlee Ayres. Listed in the archive of Ayres’ architectural plans is “Fred Cook – Residence addition and stable.”
In 1926, Dr. Peter McCall Keating, a prominent orthopedic surgeon, and his wife, Mary, bought the house. They added the north wing and removed the porch, or perhaps, as one early account says, the massive two-story porch simply collapsed and the Keatings chose not to have it replaced. Mary Keating chaired the King William Home Tour in 1951 and also served as president of the King William Area Conservation Association, the forerunner of the KWA. She was an accomplished artist, having participated in 16 art exhibitions throughout the U.S., according to her 1953 obituary.
In 1963, Phil and Mary Schug bought the house. Phil was the pastor of First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Antonio. In a 2002 interview, Mary said she initially had serious reservations about moving to King William, “but that’s what Phil wanted to do, so I was willing to go along with it.”
“We had two young daughters and this was a pretty slummy place back then,” Mary said. “The Joske house just up the street was a half-way house. Across from us was the Sartor house owned by the Tobin Foundation, but the Family Welfare had their offices there and people would be lined up for half a block on distribution days. But once we got settled in, I began to feel perfectly safe down here.”
“By the late 60s, people began to realize that the King William neighborhood had a future,” Mary said. “People with families were starting to buy these old houses and fix them up. Most were younger folks, many who didn’t have a lot of money but they had vision and lots of energy.”
In 1967, Raford Dobie was elected the first president of the newly-formed King William Association. “In 1968, Ray talked me into chairing the first King William Fair,” Mary said. “It was strictly a home-made event. Some of the neighborhood fellows slapped a few boards together for make-shift booths. It was just arts and crafts – no food. We did have a drink stand but no beer. The Association kept 10% of sales which amounted to a grand total of $35.55 that first year.”
In early 2008, the Jim Bailey family bought the house from the Schug estate, and in February 2014, it became the home of metal artist George Schroeder and his family. Now we’ll just have to wait to see what happens next.
- Bill Cogburn
Source: A History & Guide to the Houses by Mary Burkholder; Oral history from 2002 interview with Mary Schug; Early home tour guides; 1910 photo – courtesy ITC-UTSA Special Collections (Ann Russell); current photo Susan Athené.