KWA Newsletter Articles

Wow!  What a fabulous Fiesta and celebration of the 50th anniversary of the King William Association!  I want to thank the staff and all the volunteers and sponsors for your hard work, dedication and support in putting on what I consider the premier Fiesta event, The King William Fair.  I also want to thank the King William community for your support which has made the Fair possible for the past 50 years. 

Read more: President's Message: May 2017

This is a tale of three houses, and the taxes their owners pay on them.  I could write a column full of bitter recriminations about the regressive nature of taxes in my home state and town, and their destabilizing effect on neighborhoods and my own way of life, but I knew what I was getting into when I came back to Texas from the east coast (and the three income taxes I paid there, Federal, State of Pennsylvania, and City of Philadelphia). 

All those income taxes were challenging to a then young Texan who thought lack of taxation was a birthright.  Then he found out he could write off the local and state taxes on his Federal taxes, and all of a sudden the pain went away.  Homeowners in states with income taxes pay substantially less in property taxes than we do here in the Lone Star State because their local governments don’t have to squeeze blood out of the root vegetables that are their taxpayer base. 

Read more: City Lights: May 2017

This article is going to press between the City’s public meetings on April 6 and 13, 2017, when the City provided updates to its proposed parking pilot.  Changes are anticipated between the meetings, as well as after.  Be sure to check KWA’s website for the latest details and a map of the pilot area (which is much smaller than the confines of either King William or Lavaca).  Comments about the revised proposal should be submitted to KWA or me no later than May 13. 

Parking on the commercial corridor (Alamo, Presa and St. Mary’s) will be limited to three-hour parking.  The pilot area will be roughly two blocks off each street in the commercial corridor. 

Read more: Pilot Parking Program (May 2017)

There is a new and interesting garden in the neighborhood.  At river level just below the San Antonio River Authority building, at 100 E. Guenther, is what is called a Monarch Waystation.  It is a garden designed to provide nectar and shelter to monarch butterflies as they migrate through North America.  A sign near the walkway says it is “certified” and that San Antonio is a Monarch Champion City.  Go by on your next walk along the river.  For more information and how you can create one in your own garden, go to monarchwatch.org.  

Read more: Out in the Garden with Alan Cash: May 2017

For the past 95 years, the Texas Cavaliers have selected one of their members to serve as King Antonio to reign over the San Antonio celebration known as Fiesta.  In keeping with this tradition, the Cavaliers selected King William neighbor Dr. Michael “Mike” Casillas as King Antonio XCV.  Mike’s mission as King Antonio has been to spread the message that an act of kindness is the greatest gift you can give or receive.  Kindness really does start with one — one person, one act, one place, one city, one county, and one movement with one goal in mind: To make our world a kinder place one act at a time.  And with Mike’s mission in mind, every single one of us can play a part in this by being good to another person. That is what makes a difference in our world.  He visited many schools and numerous charity events, plus the multitude of official Fiesta events during his 2017 reign.  

Read more: Our Neighbor Michael Casillas, King Antonio XCV

This article is inspired by past issues of the King Association newsletter, beginning in November 1967.  Its purpose is to inform newer neighbors and remind those who have been here awhile of how the King William Area has evolved through the years.

References and comments are from those issues containing “news” items that seem, to this writer, to show the development of the King William neighborhood or merely to show how some things are unique to an historic district. The series starts with comments taken from the November 1967 newsletter about the first King William Association meeting held in October 1967.  Articles will continue, but will not in every issue of the newsletter. 

MAY 1968 - After meetings among members of the City Council, the KWA and the San Antonio Conservation Society, the King William area was designated as an Historic District.  Then Mayor Walter McAllister asked the KWA to nominate persons for membership to the new Review Board for Historic Districts.  Five of the 9 members were selected from those nominated.  

MARCH 1969 - This issue included 3 important matters of concern to the King William neighborhood.  One was that plans were proceeding for the new Post Office to be built where the San Antonio Housing Authority and O. P. Schnabel apartments are now, between S. Main Avenue and S. Flores Street.  Four blocks of homes had been razed for the site.  Thanks to efforts and negotiations between the Federal government, the Housing Authority, the San Antonio Independent School District, and the King William Association, a compromise was reached to locate the Post Office away from the residential area to a site east of the airport.  

Read more: Old News: May 2017

Many neighborhood businesses were recognized in the San Antonio Current's Best of 2017 issue in April.  Aren't we lucky to have such a plethora of "Bests"!  

Staff Picks

  • South Alamomode Panini & Gelato Company, Best Ice Cream
  • Battalion, Best New Restaurant
  • Station Café, Best Sandwiches
  • Hot Joy, Best Wings
  • Pig Liquors, Best Liquor Store
  • Sexology, Best Adult Store
  • Southtown Vinyl, Best Record Store
  • SAY Sí, Best Non-profit
  • El Mirador, Best Patio
  • Hemisfair Park, Best Place to Watch a Movie Outside
Read more: Southtown Businesses Recognized as San Antonio's Best

Do you remember how close we came to losing one of our most precious structures?  Steve and Debra Walker spent many months and many dollars completely restoring the Harnisch House at 523 King William from roof to basement.  On Saturday, August 14, 1999, just before 10:00 p.m., several fire trucks screamed through the neighborhood and converged at the corner of King William and East Guenther.

Read more: Saving King William

The City of San Antonio is crafting a new ordinance to address short term rentals (STRs) like Airbnb, HomeAway and FlipKey.  The issues raised by STRs are not new to KWA.  Today, opponents of STRs are concerned about neighborhood safety and stability.  Proponents of STRs cite property rights and economics.  These are the same topics that arose in the 1990s when the City struggled to address those who wanted no B&Bs in neighborhoods and those who wanted no regulation of B&Bs.

Read more: Short Term Rentals: Are They Really New?

 

The National Historic Preservation Act was adopted by the US Congress in 1966.  This legislation enabled Federal and State governments to create ordinances to protect historic resources.  In 1967, 50 years ago, the King William Association members set out to create a historic district.  City Council designated the King William area as a local historic district in 1968 and Mayor McAllister asked the KWA to nominate 10-12 people for the Review Board.  By 1971 King William was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Read more: Celebrating  Historic  Preservation

March marks the 31st annual Contemporary Art Month in San Antonio.  What began as a grassroots event at Blue Star Contemporary in 1986 has grown into a month-long celebration of San Antonio’s artists, museums, galleries and studios.  Contemporary Art Month (CAM), an independent, volunteer-run nonprofit established in 2003, manages the calendar and promotion for the month.  CAM sponsors several free, educational programs during the month for the public, as well as an open call for artists.

Read more: Contemporary Art Month 2017

Greetings neighbors!

At our January meeting, KWA Board members voted to create the King William Foundation, a 501(c)(3) supporting organization. Creation of the foundation fulfills several purposes. 

First: The KWA Strategic Plan under the fundraising category states, “Exploration of endowment and planned giving.”  By creating a separate entity, we can build up a fund that will earn interest, thereby reducing our reliance on the Fair as the primary source of revenues.

Read more: President's Message: March 2017

March is Contemporary Art Month!  The King William Association is participating this year by inviting local artist A.J. Rodriguez to display some of his paintings in our office.  The exhibit will be on view from February 20 through mid-April.  There will be a “Meet the Artist” reception on Thursday, April 6 from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. 

I recently met A.J. at Radius Center where his paintings were on exhibit.  Over lunch at Pharm Table at the Center, we got acquainted and he shared his artistic journey with me.  A.J. gave me a guided tour of his paintings, explaining his technique using acrylic paint in vibrant colors in the series he has named “Figuras.” 

Read more: Art Exhibit at KWA Office featuring A.J. Rodriguez

Union Pacific has been contacted by the City regarding the increase in train horn noise and concerns from the neighborhoods regarding the noise.

The Notice of Intent (NOI) for the Quiet Zone was submitted in the fall of last year.  The City received comments from Union Pacific and is now addressing access issues for properties adjacent to the track.  COSA Senior Transportation Engineer-Traffic Engineering Manager Bianca Thorpe is coordinating with those property owners to come up with a solution.  Once that is completed, Notice of Establishment (NOE) will be sent for final approval by UPRR and Federal Railway Administration.  For further information, contact Ms. Thorpe in the Transportation & Capital Improvements department at 207-1484.  

The average age of a plumber in the United States is 55.  That fact alone seems to indicate that this is a moribund trade populated by persons who probably don’t fit under sinks as well as they once did.

A leak under my kitchen sink, escaping the confines of the little pail I had placed under it, necessitated a service call that was answered by someone half the age of the aforementioned fact.  He had an even younger helper with him.  He introduced himself as David and asked if he could see the basement.  “What does the basement have to do with the kitchen?” I asked, rather thoughtlessly.  “Everything – its where the service lines and drains are, most likely, and I’ll bet the original connections are all iron pipe,” he replied tactfully. 

Read more: City Lights: March 2017

Ethel Pedraza, a King William resident for many years, is an inveterate traveler with an adventurous spirit.  She was born in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico.  Growing up she traveled regularly with her parents, Manuelita & Ruperto, and sister, Norma, within Mexico and to the U.S.  Her dad, who learned English well while studying in San Antonio, was dismayed that she had forgotten the English that she had been learning.  This wouldn’t do, so he instructed her to listen to WOAI A.M. news radio and report to him what the news was about.  This was a powerful radio station that they listened to in Mexico.  He also expected her to make As in history to be better prepared for eventual U.S. citizenship.  

Read more: Ethel Pedraza: Traveling Through Life

San Antonio’s Contemporary Art Month (CAM) has been around for over 30 years now.  To me, architecture is a form of art, so in the spirit of CAM I decided to highlight a Contemporary Style house in King William.  According to Virginia McAlester in her book A Field Guide to American Houses, the “Contemporary Style” house “was the favorite for the architect-designed houses built during the period from about 1950 to 1970.” 

Read more: Contemporary Architecture

 

The following neighbors recently joined the Board to complete the terms of members who had resigned: 

Shawn Campbell

My husband Jim and I have lived in King William for five years now and love it.  We are native Texans and have lived our married lives in Houston, Rockwall and Austin with a 10-year period in Washington, D.C.  Our two sons are grown, out of the house and gainfully employed.  We love being empty nesters.  We moved to King William for the diversity, walkability, uniqueness of the neighborhood and access to the San Antonio River.  I agreed to be on the board to contribute.  I found myself attending some of the HDRC meetings to figure out what was going on.  This is a great opportunity to be informed and have an impact on changes that will continue to make KW a vibrant neighborhood while maintaining its historic nature.  I am currently on the 50th Year Anniversary Committee and the Architectural Advisory Committee.  

Shelley Galbraith

Shelley and Peter Galbraith were drawn to King William in 2012 by friends to purchase and renovate the Nix House on King William Street.  (After 20 years in San Antonio, it was about time!)  Shelley works in digital marketing for HOLT CAT from her home office, and serves on the KWA board as a way to give back to the community.  She also serves on executive board of the San Antonio Tennis Association.

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.