KWA Newsletter Articles

An opening reception for local artist Jesus Toro Martinez was held on September 1 at the KWA office, 122 Madison Street, San Antonio, TX 78204.

Titled “Westi Lost in the Park” this series of paintings , described by the artist as "Whimsical notes of the dogs that carried on in the park" was recently shown at the Latino Art Museum in Los Angeles.

The paintings will be on display through November 30. 

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...

Read more: Over Taxed, Over Assessed

King William Cultural Arts District Member Spotlight– An occasional feature highlighting some of the organizations and artists in our neighborhood.

The sounds of accordion and the traditional conjunto guitar, the bajo sexto, meet the visitor walking up to the front door of the offices. Opening the door one sees a group of players in a circle – older men, young children – sitting and practicing riffs and...

Read more: Tradition Continues at Conjunto Heritage Taller

SAISD has called for a $450 million bond and a Tax Ratification Election (TRE) to raise the school district’s tax rate by 13 cents. Voters residing within the district’s boundaries will be asked to consider the two separate ballot propositions in November to provide funding toward extensive school building renovations,upgrades for 21st-century classrooms and programs for expanded learning opportunities outside the normal school day.

The bond would fund renovations at 13 schools, replacing aging infrastructure systems that in most cases are more than 40 years old, upgrading science labs and expanding other classroom spaces to the recommended state guidelines. The increased operating revenue generated from the TRE would assist the district in providing technology and other classroom enhancements district wide to meet today’s educational standards. The TRE also would provide additional funds for teacher compensation for afterschool and summer programs.

For more information, call 554-2230 or visit 

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...

Read more: Garden St. School News

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—

Read more: Texas Commission on the Arts Grants Awarded- Blue Star Contemporary

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, ...

Read more: Texas Commission on the Arts Grants Awarded- King William Cultural Arts District

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...

Read more: City Lights- October 2016

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

Read more: Brackenridge House B&B Celebrates 30 Years

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

Read more: The Archaeology of Dogs

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.

The annual King William Area yard sale is scheduled for Saturday, October 15. The KWA will place an advertisement in the Express-News (hard copy and online), and make a map of all the properties if the owner contacts the KWA office (227-8796 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) stating they are having a yard sale that day.

It is the property owner’s responsibility to get a Garage Sale Permit as required by the City code. According to the City Code Connections September/October 2016 newsletter: 

Read more: Annual Yard Sale is Coming!

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!

National Night Out is Tuesday, October 4 and the King William neighborhood will gather at King William Park from 6:00 - 8:30 p.m. Please join us for an evening of fun and camaraderie for kids of all ages! We are excited to have the Masonic Lodge #8 join us in putting together this annual gathering. Invitations have been extended and we are hoping to have various city/fire/police and community representatives come by.

We are also trying something new. Because the holidays are around the corner, KWA is supporting the San Antonio Food Bank by having a “peanut butter drive.” This is the Food Bank’s most requested item. They feed hundreds of children throughout San Antonio and Bexar County, so we ask that you consider bringing a jar of your favorite peanut butter with you to the NNO event, or drop it off at the KWA office, and we will make sure it’s delivered to the Food Bank.

So come on out and meet your neighbors, have a bite with friends, and bring your favorite dish to share! - Josephine Botello Garcia

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! 

Read more: KWA Grants Awarded

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.



The Brackenridge High School Alumni Association will be hosting a fundraiser that is a WIN/WIN for everyone! The Brackenridge High School parking lot will be a Goodwill Donation Station on Saturday, September 17, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 

You win because you can go right around the corner and get rid of those gently-used items that you no longer want or need! Clean out those garages, closets and cabinets! We win, too, because we will take the items off your hands to fill up our donation truck!

We will also drive through the neighborhood on that day to pick up bags of items; just put them on your porch and mark them Brack/Goodwill and we will take them. Please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a list of acceptable and unacceptable items. 

The  Alumni Association  would appreciate your assistance in spreading the word to neighbors about this as soon as possible, so they can begin gathering donations.

Thank you for your support of Brackenridge High School!  - Letie Wawrzyniak


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.