KWA Newsletter Articles

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

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

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! 

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

A dear friend and long-time King William neighbor has died. Ralph Wells suffered a fatal heart attack while preparing breakfast early on a recent Wednesday morning. He always said he wanted to die in his own backyard with his dogs nearby. He made it as far as his back porch. He had just celebrated his 84th birthday the day before.