KWA Newsletter Articles

King William has only one church building that has continually functioned as a church. At the corner of Eagleland and St. Mary’s, the familiar white stucco, tile-roofed structure was built as Westminster Presbyterian, but became San Antonio Mennonite in the 1980s. The very first Mennonites were Christian followers of Menno Simons in sixteenth century Europe who broke away from the state-sponsored Protestant church over their belief in adult baptism. Today, the Mennonite Church has two million members all over the world, and is known for a focus on nonviolence, community and service to others.

The past year has seen a few changes at SAMC. Our pastor of 11 years, Rachel Epp Miller, stepped down, and for a full year the church managed all its functions through unpaid lay leadership. John Garland was named the new pastor in May. John has many connections to the Southtown community: he lives in Lavaca, his children attend Bonham Elementary School, and he sells his backyard-grown, organic micro-greens to local residents. An avid runner, you might see him training around the neighborhood. His family also rides bikes and canoes on the King William portion of the Mission Reach River Walk.

In the spring, San Antonio Mennonite Church went through...

At last, that lonely Mission Road Power Plant will soon undergo a big change. The historic plant at Mission Road and Highland Boulevard will be transformed into a world-class center that will serve as a cradle for invention and a catalyst for clean energy innovation and technological advancement.

“EPI” stands for “Energy, Partnerships and Innovation.” The $74 million center will be unique in the country in terms of combining a think tank, incubation/start-up space (similar to Geekdom), fabrication laboratory, museum and conference center focusing on new energy innovation - all in one place. Its estimated opening is in 2020.

EPIcenter will:

Showcase a range of clean, new energy technologies through facility installations and changing exhibitions;

Inspire new development by co-locating advancing companies from all other the world with members of the clean energy and technical community at a single facility to spur collaboration and creativity;

Educate professionals, students and local, state, national and...

The International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) paid tribute to the King William Fair on September 27 during the annual Pinnacle Awards Ceremony held at IFEA’s 61st Annual Convention, where it received the Bronze Award for Best Pin/Medal in the prestigious IFEA/ Haas & Wilkerson Pinnacle Awards competition . King William Fair Manager, Zet Baer, CFEE, was on hand to receive it. Awards were made in 68 different categories.

The 2016 King William Fair pin/medal was designed by San Antonio artist and Blue Star Complex business owner, Robert Tatum. Clearly, judges were impressed by the playful nature of the design with a celebratory “George the Duck” playing guitar in a tasseled cowboy hat with a traditional ionic column, all surrounded in colorful glitter.

The professional competition draws entries from among the world’s top festivals and events. Winning entries came from organizations as diverse as the St. Louis Art Fair, St. Louis, MO; the International Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington, D.C.; the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, Pasadena, CA; the Sausalito Art Festival, Sausalito, CA; and Celebrations Ottawa in Ottawa, ON, Canada.

The IFEA/Haas & Wilkerson Pinnacle Awards Competition recognizes the outstanding accomplishments and...

Something like fall has finally arrived on our neighborhood streets. The trees are debating whether they agree with this fact and are undecided about dropping their leaves. My fig tree and the pecans have already carpeted the lawn and terrace with their summer clothing, the red oaks are still waiting for their cue on the arboreal striptease stage.

With the shade diminishing the unfiltered, dramatic, raking light of fall becomes more evident. The lower angle of the sun seems to create sharper contrast between light and shadow, crisper, more defined edges in the chiaroscuro scene that’s framed by bare branches.

The effect of the descending sun is dramatic in the dining room, radiating below the half drawn shades and making the lace curtains blaze with the fire-light of sunset. These windows are my observatory where I chart the arc of Phaeton through the seasons.

On the porches the setting sun probes the soffits, illuminating what was all in shade for the summer, as if a spotlight was being deliberately aimed upward.

The summer’s shield of giant bamboo and trees to the west is losing its welcome function as the sun moves to the south, blinding a sunset watcher’s gaze on the back porch...

The KWA Cultural Arts Committee is working on a walking tour brochure for the “Arsenal” side of our neighborhood association. Deed and consensus research conducted by intern Michael Carroll revealed this area’s original settlers were ethnically diverse:

  • • 210 Arsenal - Russian Jews Michael and Freda Dubinski Milgrom immigrated to the United States in 1880.
  • • 119 Daniel - Irish immigrants Patrick and Anastatia “Statia” Donoghue purchased their lot in 1901.
  • • 115 Rische - James Montanio was born in Italy in 1888. He immigrated with his parents at the age of eight, their ship docking at the port of New Orleans.
  • • 920 S. Main - Eugenio Ruiz and his wife and fellow Mexican immigrant Carlota built their house here after Carlota purchased the lot in 1910.
  • • 216 W. Johnson - Frenchborn Jean and Alexine Loustaunau immigrated to the United States in 1867. Jean co-founded La Maison Blanche, a French restaurant on Market Street.

- Cherise Bell

I was sitting on my front porch swing one afternoon enjoying the mild weather and admiring the wellmaintained homes up and down my block. It dawned on me how much has changed since I moved to King William in 1979 and how many new neighbors have taken residence in just the past few years and who may not be aware of its history.

So, I am starting this occasional series, calling it “Old News, ” mainly using past issues of the KWA newsletter for inspiration. I hope it will be enjoyed by our newer neighbors and that it will bring back some memories to those of you who were early arrivals when you were asked, “Aren’t you afraid to live downtown?!”

My first bit of Old News started in the fall of 2002 and is about the King William/Lavaca Tree Project. Although not in the too distant past, I am writing about the tree project because I was part of the group of volunteers...

Thanks to all of you who have welcomed my leadership with open arms. I am excited and energized to embrace the task of leading this wonderful neighborhood association! I want to thank Harry Shafer for his strong leadership over the past two years. He has done an outstanding job in positioning the organization for the future.

I want to also take this opportunity to thank the members who have recently left the board: Anne Alexander, Annice Hill, Jessie Simpson, Patrick Conroy and Curtis Johnson. They have served our organization well and we appreciate their strong efforts.

Next, I want to thank the returning board members: Beth Davis, Patty Duarte, Josephine Garcia, Charlotte Luongo, Ethel Pedraza, Bradley Toland and Christine Viña. In addition, I would like to welcome all the new board members: Shawn Campbell, Gretchen Kragh, Erich Landry, Monika Maeckle, Betsy Schultz, Brad Shaw and Amanda Strickland. I thank you all for your commitment to our organization, and I am excited to work with you over the next year to lead this organization.

My vision for this year’s board is to develop a strong cohesive organization, building upon the accomplishments of our previous boards, that will lead the King William Association into the next phase. Change is inevitable for our neighborhood as Southtown becomes a more and more desirable place to live. Stopping change is not realistic and counterproductive. My goal is to navigate our organization through these changes, being proactive, not reactive, in managing our growth, so that we can remain the desired neighborhood that we all loved when we moved here.

All the best!!- Chris Price

Each year, Centro San Antonio recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to downtown with the “Downtown’s BEST” Awards. Initiated in 2001, the awards are divided among multiple categories that celebrate people, organizations and places that support downtown San Antonio. The BEST Awards Program is a juried event and awards are presented at an annual program.

Based on our partnership with the City on transit issues, KWA nominated the City Center Development Office (CCDO) for a “Best Award.” CCDO received this year’s Best Award for Private/Public Partnership as a result of our nomination. In addition, KWA nominated King William in the category of “BEST place to live.” This category, as well as “BEST place to eat,” were awarded based on popular vote. This is the third year in a row that King William has won Best Neighborhood and the fifth year in a row we have received an award from Centro. - Rose Kanusky

A view of the King William Fair as painted in watercolor by Caroline Shelton, 1977. This print is part of a larger folio depicting King William Street, created in the Japanese Makimona style and measuring 8 ½” X 10 ½” X 16’.

 

The King William Association Home Tours and Fairs not only celebrate and preserve history, they have made history as well. On Saturday, December 3 the KWA is going to kickoff a yearlong celebration for the 50th anniversary of its establishment in 1967 with a Holiday Home Tour and Fair.

K W A ’ s first home tour took place December 1967 with a tour of association president Ray Dobie’s home at 316 King William Street at a cost of $1 per person. Thus began the association’s goal of working on a history of the homes’ occupants during years past as well as its activism on behalf of the area. That year the issue was streetlights and the slogan “Write for Light” to city hall.

The first King William Fair took place April 1968 during San Antonio’s Fiesta and HemisFair ‘68. This included a tour of some historic houses in the neighborhood. The Fair and Home Tours were held in April at the same time through 1988. That year, there was also a Candlelight Tour of Homes in November.

An item in the San Antonio Light on April 26, 1985 gives an apt description of our beloved...

King William Association Holiday Home Tour & Fair

Saturday, December 3, 2016

FREE Holiday Fair: 10:00 am- 5:00 pm

Home Tour: 11:00 am-5:00 pm

 

 

Join the Festivities as KWA Prepares to Celebrate its 50 Year Anniversary!

KWA is “Kicking-Off” its 50th Anniversary with a Holiday Home Tour & Fair. In a nod to past years when the Home Tour & Fair were held on the same day, we are adding a Fair to this year’s biennial tour of seven King William Historic homes.

 

The Holiday Fair will take place around the gazebo in King William Park on Turner and King William Streets. The hours are from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. In addition to art & craft vendors, food, beverages, fun activities, Santa, and live entertainment, KWA will be selling collectible holiday ornaments and a 50th Anniversary commemorative medal and T-shirts. The Fair is Free to attend, while the home tour has an admission fee.  

 

The seven residences on the Home Tour will be conveniently located near the fair. 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  Pre-sale ($15) tickets for the Home Tour and Food/Beverage Tickets for Holiday Fair are available to purchase here and day of event ($20) tickets will be available for the tour. The Home Tour starts at 11 am and ends at 5 pm.

 

PURCHASE PRE-SALE TICKETS BY 12/02, 5 PM, HERE:

 

That same day, Beethoven Maennerchor will have its annual Free Kristkindlmarkt at 422 Pereida St. 78210http://www.beethovenmaennerchor.com/

Enjoy one or all the events! December 3, 2016.

Mark your calendars NOW so you won’t miss out on the celebration.

 

 

 

122 Madison St. * San Antonio, TX 78204 * www.ourkwa.org 

Last month I wrote about a visit I made to the Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard. I have since discovered an olive tree growing nearby with olives on it. The tree is growing in the vacant lot in the 1600 block of S. Presa at Jacob Street. The owner of the lot happens to be a King William neighbor and told me that any newsletter reader was welcome to go by and pick as many olives as they like.

I found out during my tour of Sandy Oaks Orchard that you do not just pick an olive and eat it. Olives contain a bitter tasting compound and must be “cured” to make them palatable. I did a little internet research and found that at “Olives-Safe Methods for Home Pickling” there are directions for the curing process. If you are adventurous give it a try.

We are approaching fall and there are things to do to get ready for winter...

During the past decade, King William has witnessed how the property taxation applied to residential owners is overwhelmingly disproportionate to other properties such as commercial, institutional, industrial, amusement, and other uses. This has frustrated many King William homeowners. And the fly in the ointment: we continue to receive unfair taxation assessments, which were never properly adjusted during the housing collapse from 2008-2012. The Bexar County Appraisal District (BCAD) is not a mirror to the housing market, despite the proclamations they claim.

Why have assessed/appraised values fallen out of sync with the average homeowner? Short answer: Texas is a non-income tax state. It needs property taxation to generate the majority of its revenues. Taxing authorities use the open, imperfect, Multiple-Listing-Service (MLS) to extract sales data – even if actual sales did not occur.

Under the Texas Taxpayer Bill of Rights, we have a right to...

That young women who just took a picture of your house could be just another tourist, but look more closely - she is Isabel Howard, the KWA intern helping to document the architectural style of our homes. She will be working in the neighborhood in October and November gathering information which will be included in our revision of Mary Burkholder’s classic book, The King William Area.

Isabel is a 5th-generation Texan and a lover of history. She received her undergraduate degree in History of Art and Architecture at Middlebury College in Vermont, and is now glad to be back in Texas. She served as a historic parks consultant for the Alamo Plaza and Travis Park plans for the City of San Antonio, and is now in the Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation Program at UTSA. - Jessie Simpson

The Magic of Autumn is here. The nights are longer and the mornings are dark. Please be extra careful the mornings these days, when it is still dark while children make their way to school. Be mindful of crosswalks and school zones. Hang up and drive – cell phone use is not allowed in vehicles in school zones.

When my son was in second grade, one of his classmates was hit by a truck on the way home after school. The boy could not remember his name nor his parents’ names, but he knew his teacher’s name! That was how the first responders were able to notify his parents. While this was terrible for the child and his family, thankfully, the child suffered no permanent injuries. However, the event was a terrible experience for the driver of the truck as well. You do not want to be the person who hits a child with your vehicle.

Now we are celebrating the beginning of autumn, preparing for the Fall Festival, which will be on November 4 this year, and Dia de los Muertos. Our Monarch Gardens continue to serve as a way station for butterflies going to Mexico...

Blue Star Contemporary is delighted to share with our neighbors in King William the exciting news that we were recently awarded $87,522 from the Texas Commission on the Arts’ Cultural District Project grant program. This special initiative, separate from its programmatic grants, specifically supports the growth of cultural tourists to the state’s cultural districts. As an institution within the King William Cultural Arts District, Blue Star Contemporary was eligible to apply.

Last year, Blue Star’s board and staff convened to develop our 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, an ambitious guide that includes modernizing and making accessible our facilities and infrastructure, consistent branding as Blue Star Contemporary, and serving as a leader in San Antonio’s visual arts community with global recognition.

As you may have noticed, we are in the middle of capital renovations—

In September 2011 the Texas Commission on theArts voted for a Cultural Arts District to be established in King William under the auspices of the King William Association, one of 29 in the state. The purpose of Cultural Arts Districts is to help stimulate economic development and revitalize communities. According to the TCA, these districts “can become focal points for generating businesses, attracting tourists, stimulating development and fostering civic pride.”

Success factors for cultural districts include:

  • • Clear signage in place so visitors and the community can recognize boundaries.
  • • User-friendly website with comprehensive information about the CAD available for the community and visitors.
  • • Strong amenities such as restaurants, lodging, recreation that bolster the community.

The King William Cultural Arts District (KWCAD) extends from Al Rendon’s photography studio and Jenny Garcia’s glassmaking studio on S. Alamo down to SAY Si. It also goes to west City Street, encompassing Villa Finale and the Steves Homestead.

After the KWCAD was designated by the TCA, ...

I wasn’t aware what a spectacle Halloween was in the King William Historic District was until I moved in. The first Halloween I spent in my house I was visited by more than 600 goblins of every conceivable shape and size, and ranging in age from infants (in costume) to slightly inebriated adults, toward the end of what turned out to be a very long evening. In subsequent years...

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

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