The National Historic Preservation Act was adopted by the US Congress in 1966. This legislation enabled Federal and State governments to create ordinances to protect historic resources. In 1967, 50 years ago, the King William Association members set out to create a historic district. City Council designated the King William area as a local historic district in 1968 and Mayor McAllister asked the KWA to nominate 10-12 people for the Review Board. By 1971 King William was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1983 we listed another portion of the neighborhood on the National Register of Historic Places. The press release from Texas Historical Commission stated, “The South Alamo Street-South St. Mary’s Street Historic District can be read as a physical chronicle of San Antonio’s urban and architectural history. The concentration of contributing structures, the cohesiveness of the architectural fabric, and the long period of continuous occupation distinguish this area. In comparison with other neighborhoods which were developed contemporaneously, this district remains perhaps the most intact.”
In celebrating our 50th year and Preservation Month, we should take a moment to think about how we can ensure that our houses and neighborhood continue to exist for another 50 or 100 more years. We can help our homes retain their fine craftsmanship by following the Secretary of Interior Standards of “repairing rather than replacing”. The wood in our houses is old growth, which makes the wood less susceptible to termites, critters and weather. However, making sure exterior wood is painted, window and doorframes are caulked, skirting is intact to keep animals away from foundation piers, and application of pest control, are actions that help protect your house from deterioration. Weather-tight roofs are important to any structure. Make sure to inspect your roof for damage annually. Clean gutters and downspouts regularly to prevent water damage.
Our actions, or lack thereof, make an impact not only upon our house but on the historic district. Take time to celebrate Preservation Month this May by doing some spring cleaning and showering some loving care on your house.
- Cherise Bell