KWA Newsletter Articles

The Brackenridge House Bed & Breakfast is a prime example of historic restoration, preservation and neighborhood revitalization. This Greek revival mansion was originally built on Alamo Street circa 1903 for John T. Brackenridge. After a fire burned down a house located behind it in 1980, the two story home was “turned around and moved forward on rollers to occupy the Madison Street site,” according to the San Antonio Light on April 14, 1985. 

Carolyn Cole bought the relocated structure in 1985 and completely renovated it. On October 10, 1986, Carolyn had an open house for Norton Brackenridge Bed & Breakfast Inn. Along with her manager, Francis Bochat, Carolyn provided “scrumptious” breakfasts with lots of homemade goodies. These two entrepreneurs shared their knowledge of King William and downtown San Antonio with guests who enjoyed their stay in the lovely old home and

Read more: Brackenridge House B&B Celebrates 30 Years

The King William Fair will celebrate its 50th Fair in 2017! Our theme and focus for the Parade and Fair is a celebration of the past 50 years.

We are looking for neighbors who grew up in King William, especially those still involved in the neighborhood. We plan to honor those folks with an invitation to be our guests in the Parade.

If you are one of those people or you know a family member, neighbor or friend who grew up in the neighborhood, please contact us at 210-271-3247 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. - Zet Baer

If you subscribe to Nextdoor King William you are well aware of the attachment this neighborhood has with dogs. Dogs come in all sizes, shapes, and even colors. The various breeds of dogs were the direct result of human selection. Dogs became status symbols for royalty and prized by hunters and herders. There are about 340 recognized breeds of dogs today and an infinite variety of mixes.

Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) have been part of our human history for at least 30,000-40,000 years, and possibly much longer, and were the first domesticated animals, before sheep, goats and cattle. Recent DNA studies show dogs are descended from the East Asia gray wolf, but the archaeological record is vague as to when and where that event happened in human history. Some scholars say domestication occurred in multiple areas of the Old World, in Eastern Eurasia and Western Eurasia.

Dogs accompanied the first Native American groups that entered the New World about 14,000 years ago, and spread throughout the North and South America following their human companions. Dogs contributed to human survival by

Read more: The Archaeology of Dogs

Amanda Neale Strickland

As a lifelong San Antonio resident, I was raised in Castle Hills, but my parents often took my brother and me to the Beethoven, the Guenther House and on strolls to admire the stately mansions of King William Street. My appreciation for the unique charms of King William led me to move here ten years ago after landing a job as an assistant D.A.

I hope that by being on the Board I can get to know the people in our wonderful community, and by doing so, learn what we can all do together to make it an even stronger and more vibrant place to live. If there are opportunities to make our neighborhood safer, I would like to work with the Board to explore how that can be achieved. I would also like to get more people interested in participating in volunteer activities that could benefit our neighborhood.

Erich Richard Landry

I visited King William and my grandparents’ home on Presa as a child. It was in the Yturri family for generations. We moved back to King William in 2014 with our daughter, and enjoy our friendly neighbors and the river in all seasons. It provides a beautiful backdrop for my photography business. I enjoyed serving on the homeowner’s association of my last neighborhood, and hope to contribute to preserving the unique character of King William. Trained in anthropology, my interests include travel, historical archaeology, urban gardening and photography.

Gretchen Garceau-Kragh

Gretchen and her husband John moved to King William in 2002. John was on active duty at Fort Sam at the time and when their 6 month wait for “post” housing turned into a 24 month wait, they decided to buy a home instead of living on Fort Sam. They were attracted to King William because of the uniqueness of the neighborhood, its diversity and walkability. This is Gretchen’s second time on the KW board and plans to work with other board members on issues such as safety, transportation and infrastructure.

It is a privilege to have been elected as president of the King William Association. I am looking forward to working with our Executive Director Cherise Bell and the newly-elected board to address the issues facing our neighborhood. Our board leadership for 2016-2017 is composed of Vice President Gretchen Kragh, Treasurer Charlotte Luongo, Secretary Patricia Duarte and Parliamentarian Brad Shaw.

We met in September to create an agenda and prioritize the issues we will be tackling this year. I will provide more details in the next newsletter. In the meantime, please feel free to contact the KWA office with any of your concerns. Again, I look forward to working with you all for a great year ahead!

Since the first year of the KWA Grants Program in 2000, a total of $709,874 has been granted to organizations in the King William Area of San Antonio. Project have included art, music and theatre programs, at-risk student initiatives, technology upgrades, meaningful capital improvements, health and safety corrective measures, and literacy projects.

Using the proceeds from the Fair and in keeping with our mission, $72,238 was awarded to 10 highly qualified organizations at the September General Membership Meeting. Each year in the spring we ask for grant applications, which are due in late June. The applicants face tough competition and a very comprehensive evaluation.

This year a team of seven evaluators worked separately measuring each submission against a standard set of criteria. Next, the results were validated, and then the results delivered in rank order to the KWA Board of Directors for their consideration and approval. 

Here are our 2016-17 recipients. Congratulations to all! 

Read more: KWA Grants Awarded

Saturday, December 3,   11 am to 5 pm

Day of tour tickets may be purchased at 202 King William Street for $20

Pre-Sale Tickets may be purchased Online for $15 

 Tour includes: Oge House, Noble Inns-209 Washington; 

112 King William; SA Art League and Museum- 130 King William; 202 King William; 203 King William;

208 King William; and Villa Finale Museum and Gardens- 401 King William

 Tickets purchased online are “will call" and can be picked up on SE corner of King William Park day of tour. No Refunds.

 

 

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.” (nps.gov/aboutus/history)

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.” (nps.gov/aboutus/history)

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

Subcategories

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.