KWA Newsletter Articles

Moon Dog Shirt Co. is a small home-based company owned by Richard and Judy Kuenstler that has been in business for approximately 30 years hand making and custom making high quality tropical and novelty shirts. Richard does most of the cutting out and Judy does the sewing. Their shirts are made of premium cotton, have matched pockets, yokes in the back, slits on the sides and genuine coconut buttons. Each shirt is cut one at a time with strict attention paid to detail for the best placement of the design. Only about 1,000 shirts are made each year. Happy customers are the best walking advertisement because a well-fitted shirt is always appreciated.

The King William Association is a nonprofit organization run by a board of directors that is voted upon by the membership, as set forth in its bylaws: “The Board of Directors will be elected by the general membership at the annual meeting of the Association in September.” The affairs of the organization are managed by the board members, who serve one-year terms and are eligible for three (3) consecutive terms. Since board members join the board at different times, this means that about one-third of the board membership changes annually. The KWA board of today is a completely different board from 20 – or even three – years ago. Each year the board is a unique blend of members who represent the “property ownership, geography, gender and ethnicity” of the King William area.

I recently visited the San Antonio Fire Museum for the first time since it opened last spring. Housed in the old Central Fire Headquarters building near the Alamo, it’s home to an impressive collection of equipment, photos and three renovated trucks spanning the life of the Fire Department. While browsing through the photo collection, there was one particular photograph that caught my eye: a group of firefighters stood long-faced on the dusty ground in front of their station, with a woman wearing a long white dress standing among them. The accompanying description simply called her an unknown lady. I like to think that she was a fireman’s wife there to bring lunch, or even cooking for the whole crew the day the photo was taken.

When Rudi Harst moved back to San Antonio in 1979 after a year and a half spent making music in Holland and England, one of the first local gigs he booked was at the original Friendly Spot, located on the corner of Alamo and Beauregard. Performing there regularly alongside bands like The #2 Dinners, The Smith Brothers and Claude Morgan and the Blast, he helped transform the funky, low-key neighborhood ice house into a true hotbed of creative energy.

The Central SAFFE Office phone number is 207-7413. Any SAFFE Officer can try to answer your question or take your message for another officer.

Officer Robert Esquivel took over Officer Santos’ post. He can be reached at the Central SAFFE Office or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 


The holidays are behind us, but we wish the spirit of peace will be with you throughout the year. Last year ended in a whirlwind of activity and it looks like the trend will continue. There are several KWA committees doing some very important work for the organization. And yes, committee members are all volunteers. These folks donate their time and talents to do the work of the Association. Many find it a gratifying experience to be able to work with other neighbors to shape the community in which we live.

Your Membership Committee has been very busy this year. Our goal is to increase membership in the KWA and to increase the benefits of membership. We have established three programs to achieve these goals.

Membership Card

By now you should have received your membership card in the mail with the latest KWA directory. This card will help you keep your membership current by reminding you of the expiration date, but this little card does so much more! Show your membership card when you patronize any of the local businesses below to receive discounts:

  • A Dream Weaver Florist – 20%
  • Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum – $3 entrance fee instead of $5
  • Guenther House River Mill Store – 20%
  • MadHatters Tea House & Café – 10%
  • Robert Hughes Gallery – 10%
  • The Friendly Spot – 10% on Tuesdays
  • Tito’s – 10%
  • Villa Finale – 10% on entrance fees

We are also negotiating with many other restaurants and businesses in our neighborhood and beyond. If you have a good relationship with a local business, you might mention this program to them and invite them to participate.

We are now into the New Year and by the time this reaches your mailbox we will be only weeks away from the next growing season. Early March is the typical last frost so Valentine’s Day is the earliest best time to trim plants. Bush roses can be cut back by about half but do not trim climbing roses until they have bloomed. Climbers bloom on last year’s wood and trimming them earlier eliminates their spring flowers. Bridal wreaths, mountain laurels, flowering quince and most early blooming plants fall into the same category.

San Antonio Mennonite Church has had a home in the King William neighborhood for nearly three decades, although its building (at 1443 S. St. Mary’s) has been around for much longer. The red tile roof, white stucco walls and intricate windows make it a fine piece of Mediterranean architecture. Mennonites, having Anabaptist roots similar to the Amish, do not ordinarily worship in such fancy church buildings. Simple living is part of the faith tradition; but in the mid-1980s, a group of Mennonites began worshiping in the fellowship hall of the church, which at the time was Westminster Presbyterian. A few years later, the Presbyterian church decided to sell the building to the Mennonites.

As there will not be a January newsletter, here is an early reminder that it is best not to trim perennials and shrubs until after Valentine’s Day. Trimming any earlier can cause new tender growth that will freeze even on evergreen shrubs and delay new spring growth. The first weekend of December is our typical first frost, and annuals can be discarded as they freeze.

The San Antonio River valley was the home of Native American populations long before the Spanish mission settlement, before the Spanish acequia and mission fields (labores de los Indios), and before the German and Hispanic settlement of King William neighborhood. These indigenous people first established campsites in the valley about 11,500 years ago; the richness of the region with its springs and diverse plant and animal communities attracted people through the ages. The natives never practiced agriculture until the Spanish arrived, never had horses until the Spanish introduced them, and only hunted bison at certain times in prehistory when great bison herds migrated up and down from the Great Plains.

You may have noticed a white, cotton-like growth on neighborhood nopales the past few months. This is caused by a parasitic scale insect called cochineal (Dactylopius coccus) – but don’t be alarmed! Normally the insects do not harm the nopales. The cochineal lives its life sucking on the pads of prickly pear cacti, producing carminic acid, which, when mixed with aluminum or calcium salts makes carmine dye, also known as cochineal. If you use a small stick to smear the white fluff you can see this intense crimson color bleed on the cactus pad. This deep rich color and its resistance to fading made cochineal one of the Americas’ most important exports.

San Antonio River Watershed. It can grow in a wide variety of conditions and prefers part shade but persists in full sun, as well. It also prefers moist to wet soils – but can tolerate extreme drought conditions – and is often found in the floodplains of creeks and rivers. This warm season grass can grow in all soil types including sand, clay, loam and calcareous and acid-based soils.

Eastern gamagrass typically grows from three to six feet in height, but it can reach up to nine feet in certain conditions. The leaves form a large mound that can grow to a diameter of four feet, and the leaf edges can be extremely sharp. This plant has separate male and female flowers arranged on the same spike, and the flower spike looks like a large turkey foot.

Every semester students in Professor Sinclair Black’s Urban Design Seminar from the School of Architecture at U.T. Austin come to San Antonio for a day long walking tour that they cheerfully refer to as the “forced march.” For the last few years I’ve been asked to be co-tour guide, and it was on this same tour with the same professor, a mere 30 years ago, when I first saw the house I live in now.

The evening of November 8 saw a celebration of the creativity of seniors on the lawn, verandahs and inside the beautiful rooms of the Commander’s House on S. Main Avenue. Musicians contributed to the atmosphere that the Commander himself would have appreciated. The fun and fellowship was undeterred by the few drops of rain on an otherwise lovely night. Director of the Senior Center, Gloria De La Cruz-Sandoval, and the Bexar Senior Advisory Committee and Entertainment, Special Events Subcommittee, along with a host of hard working volunteers deserve high praise for this event.

Wow! What a ride this has been. From wanting to take my turn at helping the Association continue being an exemplary charitable organization to representing the Association’s views in some of the most polarizing issues in recent memory was an unpredictable surprise. Current issues seem to be winding down after a whirlwind of activity. As I write this message the Univision building is being razed, and we hope that the Main Avenue closure has an outcome acceptable to all stakeholders. But don’t start relaxing – it’s not over. Remember the Member Input meeting in which we said we are a residential community.