KWA Newsletter Articles

Here is a suggestion for how to spend a pleasant Saturday.  Take the short ride, about 30 minutes, to the Shady Oaks Olive Orchard near Elemendorf (sandyoaks. com).  I recently visited and thoroughly enjoyed myself. 

The tour, conducted by owner Sandy Windkur, takes you through the 10,000-tree orchard and explains the process and things made from olives.  Besides olive oil, there are creams, lotions, soaps and even tea.  The tour usually starts about 11:00 a.m., only on Saturday.  The orchard is open from

Read more: Out in the Garden: September 2016

When Mary Burkholder’s book, The King William Area – A History & Guide to the Houses, was published in 1973, Eleanor Toxey was not at all happy with how her house at 218 Washington was depicted. In a conversation with Eleanor in 2002, she told me that when she asked Burkholder why a picture of her house was not included in the book, and the house barely mentioned, Mary replied, “Your house is too new. I’m only including houses that were built before 1920.”

That really hit a nerve with Eleanor. Burkholder states in her book that the Giesecke House was built “about 1920,” but Eleanor had a photograph of the house’s construction beginning in 1915. Eleanor never forgave Mary for not giving her house the respect that she thought it deserved with a photo and a more extensive history.

The original owners of this Craftsman Style house were

Read more: Gustav Giesecke House

September is only technically the beginning of fall in Texas, since rain and temperatures will not catch up with the calendar until much closer to Halloween than to Labor Day. From my back porch the newly mowed lawn looks more like a field of straw. I’d half expected to see the three figures from Millet’s painting “The Gleaners” picking their way across the tawny stubble looking for left-behind grain.

Read more: City Lights: September 2016

The KWA and LNA joint Parking/Transportation Committee met with the City’s staff and consultant in July to discuss the ongoing review of our transit issues. The City is working closely with the consultant to identify best practices for permit parking and to further identify funding sources for solutions. Another meeting was expected in late August or early September. - Rose Kanusky, Committee Chair

Every five years the City reviews its Unified Development Code (UDC) and reviews input from staff and citizens. KWA requested adding a noise restriction to commercial properties similar to the “no alcohol” restriction. After review by many commissions, City Council approved adding NR as part of the UDC update.

Two zoning cases went before City Council on August 4: 1009 S. Alamo and 1811 S. Alamo, using the NR (noise restriction) to prohibit any outdoor amplified noise.

Read more: Noise Restriction Added to S. Alamo St. Developments

The National Park Service (NPS) celebrated its 100th birthday on August 25, 1916. President Wilson signed the bill to create this federal bureau in the Department of the Interior. One purpose of the NPS is to “conserve the scenery of the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” (

When the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 was created 50 years later, the NPS became responsible for the administration of the National Register of Historic Places. The NHRP will celebrate its 50th birthday on October 15. “The National Register is the official Federal list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. National Register properties have significance to the history of their community, state, or the nation.” (

Three National Register Historic Districts are located within the boundaries of the King William Association: the U.S. San Antonio Arsenal listed in 1969, King William listed in 1972, and S. Alamo-S. St. Mary’s Streets listed in 1984. - Cherise Bell

This being my last post as president, I want to highlight some of the accomplishments this past year on big ticket items that affect our neighborhood. The efforts of the King William-Lavaca Parking and Transportation Committee chaired by Rose Kanusky have born fruit. Our meetings with the City Manager’s staff, City Center Development Office, and Transportation and Capital Improvements Department resulted in the city hiring an outside consultant, Amy Avery of Kimley-Horn Engineers, to make a thorough study of the parking and transportation issues in King William and Lavaca. We combined the two neighborhoods because we share the same parking issues and are impacted by events in each other’s neighborhoods. The consultant’s study has taken a year to complete, and has not been released, but a draft summary was presented at our committee meeting. The City will be implementing some of the recommendations as early as October. These new parking and transportation changes will be explained in forthcoming public meetings offered by the city.

Read more: President's Report; September 2016

We see them so often in San Antonio that we may forget to notice them, or at least to note how extraordinary they are: intricate light fixtures of perforated metal, on the Riverwalk, in our stores and banks, in some of our finest homes. The delicate patterns that these fixtures project on our walls and walkways are part of the sensual world of our city, as natural to us as the flicker of luminarias or the shadows of papél picado. But they are the work of a few inspired men and women, living and working here in our neighborhood – part of a tradition that, fortunately, is set to persevere.

Read more: Shining On: Isaac Maxwell Metal

The Wulff House, built by German immigrant Anton Fredrich Wulff in 1869-1870, stands at the entrance of King William Street.  The three-story Italianate style house features random course ashlar limestone walls, a distinctive square tower and raised basement.  An interesting feature of the house is a bas-relief in the front gable with a sculpted bust of the Wulff’s daughter, Carolina, done by Wulff’s son, Harry.  The property originally included a boathouse and a bathhouse.  Flooding in 1921 resulted in a 1926 flood-control measure that re-routed the San Antonio River away from the rear of the property.

Read more: The Wulff House

It is 105 degrees as I write.  Summer is here.  HOT, HOT, HOT.  This will be an abbreviated article since it is too hot to do much in the garden other than to water to keep things alive. 

To save water, this is the time I discard many plants that I have enjoyed since spring but which are now too distressed from the heat to warrant keeping them.  These include begonias, impatiens, zinnias and other annuals.  You may want to do the same.

Read more: Out in the Garden: August 2016

Located on the western edge of our neighborhood, at the corner of W. Guenther and S. Flores Streets, is 1010 South Flores, a mixed-used development.  A variety of businesses are located on the first floor with apartments occupying the remaining two stories. 

The first business to move in was HerStory: Style Bar & Boutique in July 2014.  Owner and San Antonio native Kenyada Bell knew this was an “up and coming area” when she was scouting for a new location.  She describes her clothes as contemporary and trendy. 

Read more: New Neighborhood Businesses

The disappearance of plastic pails and shovels, rubber sandals and sunscreen from store shelves, and their replacement with pencils, notebooks, rulers and calculators signals the end of summer and the return to school for students and their teachers.

This year there may be different kinds of school supplies that have to be purchased elsewhere – ammunition.  Around the world it’s been an exceptionally violent summer, by any measure.  It’s becoming harder and harder to distinguish between active war zones and ordinary city streets.

When I meet my new graduate students, I will wonder if any of them will be carrying guns.  It is perfectly legal for them to do this, starting with the first day of August.  I hope that the people who wrote this legislation were ignorant of the meaning of the date – no one could be that cruel or that insensitive to have picked that day, above all others, for this law to take effect.

Read more: City Lights: August 2016

June 26, 2016 marked an important milestone for our friends at Blue Star Brewing Company, who celebrated their 20th Anniversary.  The day-long festivities began with a jazz brunch and continued with games, food, live music and, more importantly, 1996 beer prices!

Owned by San Antonio locals Joey and Maggie Villarreal, Blue Star was the first micro-brewery in San Antonio.  Joey’s love for beer and knowledge of biology got his passion for brewing up and running.

The brewery, along with Joe Blues, the Bike Shop and their newest addition, Provisions market, are now an indispensable part of our neighborhood. 
Congratulations to Joey and Maggie on this achievement.  Here’s to another 20 successful years!

- Josie Botello Garcia

KWA and LNA created a joint parking/transportation committee in October 2014 to secure a parking needs assessment.  Since that time, this volunteer committee has attempted to address a wide variety of transit-related issues.  In summary, the committee has:

  • Attended over two dozen meetings with city officials and stakeholders.
  • Surveyed current transit-related signage.
  • Conducted a traffic/parking survey for Lavaca and the same survey for King William.
  • Secured a city sponsored online survey regarding narrow streets.
  • Acquired two technical memos from the city’s consultant regarding current conditions.
  • Created “This Could Be A Ticket” push card for parking offenses.
  • Authored numerous newsletter articles and board reports.
  • Received additional safety striping at the Alamo/Probandt intersection.
  • Obtained removal of dangerous striping at the Alamo/Adams intersection.
  • Added “No Parking” signs near the Alamo St. crosswalk at the Friendly Spot.
Read more: Parking / Transportation Committee Report: August 2016

Roofless Solar has come to San Antonio and is now available to every CPS Energy customer in the area.  CPS Energy, the nation’s largest municipally owned utility, in partnership with Clean Energy Collective, is providing a greener way to buy power.  Community solar is ideal for all CPS customers, including renters, those with rooftops not suitable for rooftop solar and anyone who wants to harness the sun’s energy but doesn’t want to spend tens of thousands of dollars for an on-site system.

Read more: Roofless Solar Now Available

Steve Yndo and Betty YndoBetty Yndo is one of the first residents I met in King William back in 1997.  She was showing my husband, Richard, and me around, as we thought we might like to live here.  We did not buy a house from her, but she certainly sold us on the neighborhood.  She pointed out fabulous historic homes and told us about gathering spots such as La Tuna Ice House.  While not originally from San Antonio, Betty became an unofficial ambassador for King William, known and beloved by many in our historic section of downtown San Antonio.

Betty Gibson grew up on a farm in Stanton, Texas, where folk were welcomed by “3,000 friendly people and a few old soreheads.”  After attending the Baylor School of Nursing, she married Dr. Don Gaddis, and they had two sons, Paul and David, and a daughter, Pam.  Don died in 1972.

Betty first worked in real estate while living in Austin, where she loved working out of doors.  She and her sons built cedar kit houses, ordered from Seattle, in Alpine and in Austin.  Betty went on to convert a warehouse in Alpine into a seven-shop mini mall, taking advantage of a Small Business Administration loan for female entrepreneurs.

Read more: Betty Yndo and King William Realty - Celebrating 30 Years

We had another great July 4th Regatta in King William.  Started in 1983, the Regatta is organized by the near-mythical King William Yacht Club for the happy purpose of enjoying our neighbors and our neighborhood by cruising our portion of the San Antonio River.  A great crowd showed up this year, some to power-paddle in the canoe and kayak races, others to show off their stars-and-stripes style in our leisure class, and the rest of us for the thrill of spectating. 

Read more: KW Yacht Club: In a Regatta de Vida, Baby


Monthly column from KWA president.

Tips and resources for historic home and building preservation.

Learn the history of some of the neighborhood's historic structures.

General history and anecdotes about the King William Area.