This pretty two-story Eastlake-Victorian house at 151 Crofton was built in 1903. It was a wedding gift to Dr. Edward Hertzberg and his wife, Helene, from the young doctor’s parents. The senior Hertzbergs, Theodor and Emilie, who owned the brick mansion next door at 155 Crofton, hoped to see a large and loving family of grandchildren grow up in the new house. That dream came true.

Edward and Helene Hertzberg had three children, Helene, Lenora (Nola) and Edward, Jr. Talented in the arts, Nola traveled to Germany in the 1920s to study theatre, art and music, planning on a career in one of these fields. While there, she met and married a German national. As Hitler’s Nazi regime began to engulf the country, Nola Hertzberg Feiler thought it prudent for her to return to the United States, moving back into the Crofton family home with her parents. She had a happy life there for many years but then one day, tragedy struck.

On New Year’s Day, January 1, 1955, several family members piled into the family car for a drive to the country. Besides Nola, there was her mother, her older sister, Helene Simmang, and her husband, Theodore Simmang. They were hardly out of the city on Bandera Road when an oncoming car veered into their lane causing...

a head-on collision. Nola was the only survivor of the crash.

She spent a year in a body cast and was so badly crippled that she had difficulty walking even with the aid of a walker. Nola’s father had died four years earlier, so with her mother’s death, ownership of the house at 151 Crofton passed on to her. She never again saw the upstairs of her home and rarely went outside to the garden. For the next fifteen years, she lived in a small area of the first floor while the rest of her home deteriorated around her. In 1970, needing to move into a nursing home, Nola decided to sell her house.

Roger and Rubina Berry were married at San José Mission in August, 1970. The newlyweds were looking for a house to rent or buy when they saw a cardboard sign in front of 151 Crofton. The house was larger than they needed and a stretch for their budget, and it needed a lot of work. They were hesitant but knocked on the door anyway.

When Nola finally made her way to the door, she invited them in and told them her story. Even at her asking price of $15,000, there were only two prospective buyers: a real estate speculator who intended to cut the house up into apartments and a pair of newlyweds who wanted to raise a family there. Nola chose the newlyweds.

Roger and Rubina moved into their new home in December 1970. They restored the original pine flooring and the outstanding Eastlake stairway, replaced the cedarpost foundation with concrete piers, added the standingseam metal roof and installed central air and heat. They created a home and raised a family just as Nola had envisioned.

Nola lived for several years at Morningside Manor. Roger and Rubina, along with their son Noel, visited her regularly, showing photos and keeping her abreast of progress of work on the house. Those visits continued until Nola died in 1979 at age 77.

Sadly, Roger died in 2010 but Rubina lived on in her house until August 2016, when she decided to downsize and move near Dallas to be closer to her son. With new owners, the house enters into a new chapter. - Bill Cogburn

Source: 2005 interview with the Roger & Rubina Berry; SAPL Texana Room.