KWA Newsletter Articles

The Parks and Recreation Department was quick to respond to reports of drought stress noticed on the younger trees in King William Park! Not having a current contact, Maria and Fred Pfeiffer wrote to the department’s director Xavier Urrutia, who took time to answer within several hours—and on a Sunday! Tree section manager Melinda Cerda and the new city forester Ross Hosea were right on the situation. Ross met Maria and Fred at the park and reviewed the situation. Extra watering was ordered immediately and by Tuesday tree bags were installed and all of the park trees mulched. Ross and his staff will continue to monitor the trees. He is also working with the Downtown Operations Department to water the stressed cypress trees in the park at Pancoast and Chavez. We appreciate all of the quick attention and hope it rains soon to take some of the load off the overworked Parks’ staff.

There is always something to do in the garden.  This article has some tips for cooler weather gardening.  Although some may be repeats from previous articles, is always good to be reminded.

October and November are good months to fertilize lawns, shrubs and trees to promote healthy roots systems for new growth next spring.  With our usually warm South Texas winters, roots continue to grow even if the rest of the plant is dormant. Continue to feed outdoor container grown plants with a water-soluble fertilizer.  Use organic fertilizers, which can be found at independent local nurseries.  

I came home and discovered that some vanished delivery man had left a package on my front porch, and nearly pulled my front gate off its hinges in the process. I love the orderly rank of pickets on my fence rails and their continued march across the gate. The notable sag produced by the separation at the top hinge made it look like a boxer who’d staggered back to his corner to recover from a decisive blow.

While I was screwing the hinge back in place a little breeze picked up – not quite a foretaste of fall, but enough of a reminder that Halloween is almost at hand. Looking at the gate I was reminded of the one-night-only sanctioned hooliganism that used to prevail in late 19th and early 20th century cities and towns on the night before Halloween.

I have received several inquiries from neighbors regarding repainting of buildings within the historic district. For the record, please note that colors are administratively approved by the Office of Historic Preservation staff, as the City of San Antonio Historic Design Guidelines do not address paint color.

As a professional architectural historian, I have to admit I am conflicted regarding exterior paint color for historic properties. In San Antonio, most house facades were painted white before and during the Victorian Era. Color was only used on trim, due to the high cost of colored paint. My own Folk Victorian Style house, built in 1904 and designated as an individual historic landmark, is painted brown with red and purple trim as accent colors. My paint has dark, muddy colors, close to colors that would have been available during the Victorian Era but realistically would not have been used on such a modest house. Most of my neighbors on my two-block street have white facades, and only their trim woodwork is painted a different color. My neighbors’ houses - some historically designated, some not - more accurately reflect the historic color palette available in San Antonio during the era in which our houses were constructed than my own house.

Just think of it! Three of San Antonio’s major candy factories were once located right here in our neighborhood, all within a few blocks of each other.

Duerler Candy Factory, 114 Camp Street at S. Flores

In 1849, John Jacob Duerler and his family emigrated from Switzerland. Their son Gustav attended local schools and apprenticed in the printing trade until the Civil War interrupted his career. After his Confederate service, he started a candy factory in the rear of his small house in La Villita. By 1926, his growing business allowed him to build a six story building on Camp Street to house his candy manufacturing and pecan shelling company. The business remained in the family until 1937 when the factory building was taken over by aerial mapping pioneers, Tobin Surveys, Inc.

On Friday, October 3, SAY Sí and UTSA will present “SERIE, a Serie Project Retrospective,” an exhibition of 100+ Serie Project artworks never before displayed from the private collection of Drs. Ricardo and Harriett Romo.
The Serie Project, which started in 1993 by the late artist and teacher Sam Coronado, allows underrepresented artists to benefit from collaboration and learn the “serigraphy” technique. In the last two decades the organization has fostered over 250 artists from different professional levels and ethnic backgrounds. Similarly, SAY Sí, San Antonio’s premier youth arts organization, acts as an incubator for emerging middle and high school artists.

Based on her years of experience, dedication to King William and continual improvement of the Fair, the KWA Board has promoted Zet Baer from Fair Coordinator to Fair Manager.

KWA thanks Zet for all her hard and successful work!

When approached to be president of the KWA, my first reaction was to pass up the candidacy because of a heavy workload. After talking it over with my wife Molly and KWA staff, however, I decided to accept the opportunity to preside over the KWA Board and operations. I approach the position with no preconceived agenda, but look to assist in meeting the challenges that will occur and to help guide the association forward with regards to neighborhood needs. I am a past Board member and served on the Executive Committee under president Brad Shaw, and have been on the Finance Committee for six years. I also bring the experience of serving on the CoSA Historic Design and Review Committee for the past five years. Presiding over a non-profit is not a new experience for me, so I feel qualified to meet the challenges.

Joe Huntington moved to the St. Benedict Lofts in April 2012 from Las Vegas, Nevada, and recently bought a house on Sweet Street. He has been a KWA member since 2012. KWA director, Cherise Bell, met with Joe to get his perspective on being a new historic property owner.

Q. You recently bought a house on Sweet Street, which is the KWA boundaries, but outside the historic district. What motivated you to designate your house as an individual landmark?

A. I knew I had to act right away when this house came up for sale. My reason for buying such an old house was because I’ve never owned an old house before. I’ve always owned newer homes. I think I was looking for a challenge and to test my creativity. The main reason why I choose to designate my house as a landmark was to become part of the historical community that makes up Southtown. It’s a sense of pride knowing you own something of historic significance. 

The San Antonio College Student Art Guild has been an official campus club, serving art students for over 30 years. Our goal is to create an environment outside the classroom, for students to pursue creative projects, engage in art critical discourse, and build peer relationships that will nurture their creativity and strengthen the transition from student to professional artist.

As a club, the students meet with an advisor to discuss goals and plan activities for the year. Students are encouraged to bring new ideas to the table. Over recent years, students have participated in Chalk It Up, hosted a booth at the King William Fair, curated exhibits for local galleries like High Wire Arts and Second Saturday/ South Flores galleries. They assisted artist Charles POMPA Harrison at his installation for Luminaria, and juried artworks for Alamo Heights middle school students.

The City’s Office of Historic Preservation receives applications and issues administrative approvals for residents who wish to upgrade their landscapes. There are many contributing factors when changing or modifying a landscape within a historic district. This may include various design guidelines, tree preservation ordinances, exemptions, and the Unified Development Code.

Information about landscape modifications and administrative approvals can be found at the OHP website (sanantonio.gov/historic/) and the City’s Unified Development Code site (sanantonio.gov/dsd/udc.asp). You may also contact the Development Services Department, Mark C. Bird, City Arborist at (210) 207-8053, or Justin Krobot, Assistant City Arborist (210) 207-6042. Additional assistance can also be obtained by contacting OHP directly at (210) 215-9274.

Nemo and I were so excited to win Best Booth Display in 2014! I'm so amazed at our King William Fair patrons who love what we do, and they show it. We consider it our “hometown” show, since it’s one of the few festivals we do in San Antonio - it’s like a family reunion for us and we love it. I’ve been attending since I was a child, and the spring wouldn't be the same without it. We’re now going on four years living in a 96 square foot van, still traveling the country living off our art.

Thanks to all who put on this awesome event! We had our best sales year yet.

- Hannah

Our intern Mary Minor has been hard at work and has completed the sidewalk (or “windshield”) survey of the S. Alamo/S. St. Mary’s National Register Historic District. When the National Register nomination was written in 1984, the architectural historian determined if a building was “contributing” or “noncontributing” to the historic district.

Summer officially ends September 22.  At this writing, the first week of August, temperatures have been moderate compared to years past.  However, on August 6, we had our first official 100 degree day.  So it looks like we will have the “dog days” of summer at least for a few weeks. Luckily a glass of iced tea, a porch swing, and a light breeze are enough to get by.  Sit back and relax until about October, which is our second wettest month.

The seasonal rhythms of life in the Gulf States have more to do with the rotation of the calendar than with a change of temperature. The almost uniquely American ritual of students returning to classes after a three month parole from educational incarceration is largely disassociated from any signs of change from summer. I know that I’ll soon see high school students trooping past my house the few blocks south to the local high school. They’ll have the look of a defeated army marching to interment, heads down, dragging their feet, shouldering backpacks big enough to carry supplies for a long bivouac.

Girls Incorporated® of San Antonio Mentors Valuing Peers (MVP) program members spent their summer giving back to the community by building and installing a series of Little Free Libraries as part of the Summer Team Up Challenge sponsored by Silver & Black Give Back. At Girls Inc. we believe that readers today become leaders tomorrow, and our Little Free Libraries help our girls spread a love of reading and lifelong passion for literacy in our community.

This is our final dog walk on the Riverwalk. From the footbridge at Eagleland we walk on the north east side of the river. The opposite bank is undeveloped and this encourages wildlife to thrive. Your human will enjoy watching the birds along here.

The Eagleland footbridge is a new feature. Installed about three years ago, it allows foot and bicycle traffic across the river at the southern end of the neighborhood and connects us to the Mission Trails Hike & Bike. There is a landscaped plaza at the end of the bridge with a baggie dispenser and a bench for your human. This plaza is not very shady yet, the trees have just been planted.

One of the major challenges facing the Association this past year was to develop a better understanding of the role, purpose and direction of the Association. Therefore, the board secured the services of a consultant to help develop the KWA strategic plan. The board has adopted the plan, and it provides a definitive set of goals that point the path forward for the organization and what needs to be addressed in the near-term and short-term. Many of the suggestions that were voiced during the membership input meetings are embedded in the goals that have been documented. Many of the goals documented in the plan are already being addressed. The plan is a living document and will certainly be tweaked as new challenges arise. I invite you to carefully review this document, embrace it, and identify areas of interest where you can contribute to helping the King William Association meet the challenges facing our neighborhood.

One of the big issues in health and the built environment today is equal access for everyone to fresh produce. The food disparity in San Antonio is sobering. Discussions about local food production as a solution to the critical and growing need for access to healthy foods led us to look at our urban neighborhoods and their potential.

Our research uncovered the King William district’s first recorded use as farmland or labors cultivated to support people living at the Alamo. Deeply interested in cultural landscapes, we believe that the existence of mature fruit trees can provide a link to the history of the land use in the area and are remnants of bygone times. One of the goals of The San Antonio Fruit Tree Project is to collect oral histories from the community about their trees. Our city has a long history with agriculture, and these reminders aspire to help all people have access to locally grown fresh food.