KWA Newsletter Articles

C. A. Stieren emigrated from Germany in 1860, first settling in New Braunfels where he met and married Hedwig Remer.  Soon, the couple moved to Gonzales where they opened a mercantile store.  By the time they moved to San Antonio in 1890, the family had grown to include seven children.

In San Antonio, Stieren joined Axel and Paul Meerscheidt in the real estate business.  He built the house at 503 E. Guenther in 1891 where his family lived until 1902.  The house has had several owners through the years, but one that many neighbors will still remember are Craig and Lola Austin who owned the house from 1988 to 2004.  They were famous for hosting great parties and participating in neighborhood activities. 

This year’s King William Fair was a great success! The weather was beautiful, the parade was fabulous, and we had a record number of attendees!  The fair vendors were elated by the response and turnout.  I want to thank Syeira Budd, the King William Fair staff, and all the volunteers whose hard work and dedication make the Fair so successful.  In the coming weeks we will have the final numbers to report.

The board met on May 17, 2018 to review various committee and financial reports.  There were no action items and no citizens to be heard.  Our guest from the Lavaca Neighborhood Association was Selsa Adham Gonzalez.

Tracy Moon provided the board with an overview of strategic planning.  In 2014, the board worked with a facilitator to develop a two-year strategic plan.  It is time to revise the plan.

Jacob Floyd, a planning coordinator with the City, introduced a draft of the SA Tomorrow Land Use Category Definitions, which would amend chapter 35 of the Unified Development Code.  The King William neighborhood is part of the Downtown Regional Center Plan, which in turn is part of the City’s comprehensive plan called “SA Tomorrow.” SA Tomorrow is broken down into 13 employment areas.  

We anticipate that Mr. Floyd will present an informational meeting and feedback session at a future general membership meeting.  His work is expected to become part of a new neighborhood plan.  More information can be found at downtown.sacompplan.com.

This column is not intended to replace the official minutes

- Rose Kanusky

After 32 years in education, the last five as Bonham Academy principal, Mr. Webber is retiring.  When he came to Bonham, then-Superintendent Sylvester Perez asked him to commit five years.  He gave us his all in those years, and more.

Growing up with a Spanish teacher (later college professor) father and a French teacher (later journalist) mother, it’s no surprise Mr. William Webber developed a love for languages.  His four brothers and sisters all learned German, as that was one language his parents didn’t know and they could speak without them understanding. 

On May 14, Brackenridge Principal Yesenia Cordova, art teacher Terry Ybanez and KWA Executive Director Tracy Moon joined a celebration for Maya Diaz, a junior at Brackenridge High School who was the winner of U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett’s (D-San Antonio) annual Congressional High School Art Competition.  Maya’s original piece, Picture Perfect, featuring the reflection of light against objects that remind her of her parents, will hang in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. for a full year, providing her with national exposure as she represents San Antonio.  Maya’s passion for art extends past the classroom: she served as the President of Brackenridge’s Art Club and will be applying to colleges to pursue art. 

- Analysse Escobar, Field Representative

This spring, magic ensued in Room 2612 during fifth period.  Bonham Academy and Gemini Ink teamed up to form a creative writing space for a group of 15 young learners for a nine-week reading and writing series. Students produced bound-book-worthy poetry – with the guidance and support of Carol Gonzales and Pam Deusing from Gemini Ink’s Writers in Communities (WIC) program, along with Maile Parker, sixth-eighth grades educator at Bonham. 

The artist sees what others only catch a glimpse of.  Leonardo da Vinci (Painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer).

I recently attended the ceremony for the Congressional Art Competition winner Maya Diaz of Brackenridge High School.  Watching this talented young woman beam with pride reminded me how important cultivating the arts is to our future.  I am grateful to be part of an organization that supports arts education and cultural development.  This caused me to consider the question: Why does art matter?

Can you bring to your mind the sound of the New Year’s Eve ratchet-like noisemaker? You hold the handle and spin it around to make an annoying sound. That is one of the first new sounds I heard after moving to San Antonio. I also heard a long, loud whistle; a sound like static on a radio; and the sound of crumbling aluminum foil or breaking glass. I found out that these often-earsplitting sounds and more emanated from the same source, a grackle.

In 1963, when a little girl named Janice Barker skipped across S. Alamo Street to start her first grade at Bonham Elementary, she couldn’t have known that, in 2018, she’d be saying goodbye to Bonham Academy after 38 years teaching. 

Mrs. Janice (Barker) Schwab grew up in King William in the 1960s and 70s.  Back then, Bonham Elementary had open breezeways instead of hallways, and if it was pouring rain, the kids had to brave the weather to race to the outdoor bathrooms.  There was no air conditioning, so they made good use of the large windows and transoms. 

Monika Perez-Moad has been working at the King William Association for nearly seven years. Everyone who visits the King William Association office is greeted with a warm smile, hospitality, and extensive knowledge of the King William Association. She is truly the face of the KWA.  Monika runs the King William office with grace and skilled professionalism. It is with great appreciation for a job well done that we announce Monika's promotion to Office Manager.

 

 

When Sue Duffy, 2007-2017 Chief Parade Wrangler, first met Diana “Skullyvera” Schmelzer of the Alamo City Rollergirls (ACRG) in 2007, they instantly became friends.  In 2008, they hatched a new Parade tradition when the Rollergirls became Sue’s official wrangler crew.  You’ve no doubt noticed them skating alongside the Parade since then with their “Speed Up” and “Slow Down” signs to keep things moving smoothly.

For exactly 158 years this month, the Guenther Mill has had a prominent presence in our neighborhood proudly anchoring the foot of King William Street.  None of the homes that line King William Street were here when Carl Guenther began building his mill in 1859.  

In 1848, twenty-two-year-old Carl Hilmer Guenther left his native Saxony to cross the ocean in search of the American dream.  He arrived first in New York then traveled to Wisconsin where he worked at a number of jobs – carpenter, farmhand and millworker – before making his way to Texas.

This short column was launched to help keep neighbors informed about KWA board activities.  It is not intended to replace the official minutes, and the content can be blamed on the author, not the Association or its secretary. 

The board met on March 21, 2018, and welcomed its new executive director, Tracy Moon. The board took formal action to allow Tracy to be added to the bank accounts. Tracy was introduced to the neighborhood at the spring social at the recently reopened Francis Bogside on April 4, 2018. 

March marks the 32nd annual celebration of Contemporary Art Month in San Antonio.  What began as an event at the Blue Star Contemporary in 1986 has grown into an event featuring the work of local artists in museums, galleries and studios across the city and beyond. 

Coordinating the events of the month is the Contemporary Art Month organization (CAM), an independent non-profit started in 2003 in response to the need for a central source of information regarding the activities and calendar of the month.  The mission of CAM is “to promote and raise the national profile of San Antonio contemporary art and artists by organizing and facilitating a month-long celebration of contemporary art, providing marketing support, and by organizing and facilitating public programs.”  CAM sponsors several free educational programs during the month for the public, as well as an open call for artists.  On CAM’s website, contemporaryartmonth.com, artist-run spaces, commercial spaces and institutions can submit listings for the calendar for a nominal fee.  Artists are welcome to list their studios for free.  This website is a great resource for navigating art-y events.

In 1987, the King William neighborhood was invaded by Hollywood when a short segment of the movie Nadine was being filmed in the 300 block of Madison Street.  At first, the neighbors thought it was exciting to have the film crew working in the neighborhood, but after a few days of noisy generators humming away all night and bright flood lights late into the evening, the glamour quickly wore off.