KWA Newsletter Articles

Day 1

One of my favorite small towns happens to be in the second-largest city in Texas. Southtown occupies a two-square-mile swath just a few blocks below San Antonio’s touristy epicenter, but it’s much farther away in spirit. Encompassing stately neighborhoods, like the King William Historic District , and artistic hubs, like the booming Blue Star Arts Complex, it’s filled with free parking and beloved restaurants where locals outnumber visitors (try finding either of those near the Alamo). Pitching a Southtown weekend to my friends, I billed it as one part relaxing “nearcation” (“We’ll rent bikes and stay in a B&B!”) and one part anthropological excursion (“Forget the Alamo and yellow cheese. Let’s find the Beaux-Arts mansions and pork belly!”). They were dubious but game.

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This summer's weather has been challenging, even brutal in regards to gardening. Temperatures of 100 degrees plus have been common and rainfall scarce. From June 1 through this writing in mid August, only 6 and 5/8 inches have fallen in the King William/Lavaca neighborhoods. About half of that was in the first part of June. If nothing else, we should have learned what plants are better adapted to our warmer and dryer climate. Take notes for next year.

The King William Association Charter was submitted to the State of Texas on July 28, 1967. The purpose of a charter is to proclaim an organization’s purpose and intent. Seven purposes are listed in the King William Charter. This article is about the seventh and last purpose.

7. In support of these purposes, the corporation shall solicit and receive funds and real personal, or mixed property and interests therein by gift, transfer, devise or bequest, and invest such funds and property, subject to such limitations, if any, as may be expressed in any instrument evidencing such gift, transfer, desire or bequest.

San Anto Cultural Arts (SACA) approached the King William Association in January with a request to install ten “mini murals” measuring eight feet by eight feet around the neighborhood. In the spring, SACA conducted a community meeting to discuss what subjects the neighborhood would like to see in the murals. Based on community input, SACA students got to work creating some designs. At the June KWA general meeting, John Medina, Public Art Program Manager, presented their ideas.

The King William Scholarship Committee is delighted to announce the Brackenridge High School students who have been awarded 2013 King William Association Scholarships. This award will assist the students through four semesters.

  • Nancy Delgado – St. Phillips College, Psychology
  • Jaime Fraga, Jr. – San Antonio College, Criminal Justice
  • Miguel Velazco – St. Phillips College, Psychology
  • Keren Hernandez – St. Phillips College, Dental Hygiene

The students will be formally recognized during the September 4th KWA general membership meeting. Invited are the recipients, their parents and family members. Also attending will be the volunteer mentors who will support and be a resource for the students as they enter this exciting and challenging endeavor. A huge thanks to the mentors: Cherise Allegrini, Ryan Cox, Aimee Holleman, Jennifer Hussey, Karen Krajcer, Nathan Morey, David Murphy, Kara Myers and Penny Wiederhold.

- Jennifer Morey

Imbrication: The weather-tight covering formed by overlapping rows of plain or end-modified tiles or shingles thereby producing distinctive surface patterns.

From the Old-House Dictionary, by Steven J. Phillips

Imbrication is often seen in Victorian-style houses, and the “modified” shingles are identified by the end shape of the shingle. For example, look at the shingles in the gable end roof of the photo above. Starting from the top then going down, there are five different rows of shingles types: square, diamond, octagonal, fish scale and square again. Overall, Phillips has identified nine types of imbrication styles.

Every August my family goes to the beach for a week before the girls have to go back to school. As I walked along the Atlantic coast this year, I thought about King William, both my neighborhood and our Association. Perhaps it was related to the high and low tides, or what washed up on the shore. Perhaps it was erosion of shoreline with dune restoration efforts to preserve it, or sand castle creations washed away with the next tide. Perhaps it was the diversity of marine life we encountered, from periwinkles to sand dollars, from nesting turtles to varieties of crab (including horseshoe, hermit and ghost), and from pods of dolphins to a shark!

When many people hear the word “Freemasonry,” they immediately have fantastical thoughts of secret handshakes, hidden treasures, and plots for world domination. Much of this mystique owes itself to movies such as National Treasure and The Da Vinci Code, which are peppered with Masonic myths. But as any good historian will tell you, myths are often based on a kernel of truth.

Summer in South Texas is one of the best times of the year to be outside along the San Antonio River. On some days, though, if the heat doesn’t keep you inside, the mosquitoes will. Luckily, the San Antonio River Watershed is home to a native fish that helps us with those pesky insects. The Western Mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) is a small (1 to 2 inch) fish that lives in ponds, lakes, creeks and rivers. This fish, along with its close cousin, the more localized Largespring Gambusia (Gambusia geiseri), eats mosquitoes. While these fish might be considered pests in some parts of the country where they have been introduced, they are native to our watershed and therefore provide a natural form of pest control. Incredibly common and numerous, these hardy fish are not hard to find.

The King William Association By-Laws have gone through a lengthy review process, culminating with a set of proposed amendments that were presented to the membership at the June general meeting. At the direction of the KWA Board, the proposed amendments are scheduled for approval by the members eligible to vote at the annual meeting in September, in accordance with the current by-laws.

At the KWA General Meeting on June 5, 2013, H-E-B spokesperson Dya Campos announced that H-E-B had submitted a proposal to the City to build a grocery store at the corner of S. Flores St. and Cesar Chavez Blvd. In addition, Ms. Campos stated that H-E-B would be asking the City’s permission to close S. Main Avenue between Arsenal St. and Chavez Blvd. at an undetermined future date, regardless of whether or not a grocery store is built.

There is a process for any entity that wants to permanently close a city street, the “Closure, Vacation and Abandonment Process.” This is available for review online at the City Of San Antonio website under the CIMS department:

Most of us have probably heard the term heirloom plants, but do not know what they really are. The following is taken from The Southern Heirloom Garden by William C. Welch and Greg Grant.

Heirloom plants are living antiques and belong in the garden because they are tough, adapted and pretty. They evoke nostalgia by their sight and smell because they are plants that Grandmother grew or we grew up with as children. The use of heirloom plants should be considered in establishing the garden to complement the restoration of any older home.

In last month’s KWA newsletter, I read about a nifty private social website called Nextdoor King William. No sooner had I signed up than I saw an intriguing post from neighbor Rhoda Hockett:

We have lived here 29 years and tonight was the first time we’ve seen fireflies on the river banks!!! We started seeing the first one from the bridge by Brackenridge HS then saw two more as we walked back toward Blue Star. Imagine if there were fifty or a hundred? The magic begins!

For many years, there was a corner of the King William neighborhood that was made up mostly of families of Italian decent. Many were first generation immigrants from Italy. The four square blocks bounded by S. Main, W. Guenther, Sheridan and Flores was a quiet, peaceful neighborhood where families like the Granatos, Pantusos, Martinos and Scarnatos would gather on one front porch or another after a day’s labor to exchange news and gossip.

The King William Association Charter was submitted to the State of Texas on July 28, 1967. The purpose of a charter is to proclaim an organization’s purpose and intent. Seven purposes are listed in the King William Charter. This article is about the sixth purpose.

6. In further pursuance of this purpose, the corporation shall plan, promote, and conduct activities and special events designed to attract people to the King William Area for educational and cultural pursuits and to promote the arts and crafts.

Behind the scenes, it is a busy summer for the KWA. In the last issue I mentioned the Board of Directors will work on and approve a 2014 budget which will include funding for many of the activities we support throughout the year: concerts at SARA, artists at the office, graffiti clean-up, tree planting, the home tour program, sidewalks, socials and scholarships. The budget also includes general operating expenses from salaries to staples. In addition, we budget for building maintenance of our office on S. Alamo. After accounting for what the KWA needs to operate and complete programs or approved projects we look to the remainder of the KW Fair income to award grants to organizations throughout our community.

The Architectural Advisory Committee of the King William Association has declared 2013 “The Year of the Window” ... and in previous issues of the Newsletter we have discussed the City’s historic guidelines that call for appropriate, energy-conserving restoration of historic windows over replacement. In this installment we visit with neighbors whose home and guest house exemplify best practices for residential window restoration (and much else besides!).

The King William Association Charter was submitted to the State of Texas on July 28, 1967. The purpose of a Charter is to proclaim an organization’s purpose and intent. Seven purposes are listed in the King William Charter. This article is about the fifth purpose.

5. The corporation shall foster and promote the cooperation and support of individuals, business groups, civic groups, and governmental units in developing tourist attractions in the general area and in strengthening the economic and cultural life of the surrounding area.

Over two weekends in late May and early June, between 10 and 11 inches of rain fell over most of the area between S. Flores St. and the I-37 Freeway. If you have a lawn of any size you have probably been out cutting it every few days. It seems clear that xeric landscapes are not only environmentally better, but can be less labor intensive. If you would like to reduce the amount of grass in your landscape, go by 815 E. Guenther to get some ideas about what can be done to reduce water usage and still have an appealing garden. If you have gone by this garden before, notice that there seems to be more pieces of unique yard art than previously.

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