On a cold winter evening in February 1982, a four-alarm fire raged through the two-story house at 230 Madison Street. After hours of fighting the flames, the San Antonio Fire Department declared the house a total loss. Sadly, four elderly residents died in the fire.
The 1896 Reilly House, though in disrepair, was said by the Express-News reporter to be an “excellent example of the Queen Anne architectural style.” The article went on to say that the stained glass windows were perhaps the finest to be found in King William.
After the debris from the fire was cleared away, the lot sat vacant for several years. Then a remarkable thing happened. A two-story house located at 951 South Alamo, between Tito’s and The Friendly Spot (current site of The Victorian), was turned around, moved to face Madison Street and renumbered 230 Madison. The house was bought and restored by Carolyn Cole in the early 1990s to become her Bed & Breakfast, which she operated for several years. She named it The Brackenridge House B&B honoring John T. Brackenridge, who built the house in 1901.
This was a favorite place to stay for a weekend getaway when Roz and I lived in Houston. Sitting on the upstairs balcony watching the sunset on a summer evening with a cold bottle of Chardonnay brings back happy memories.
The current owner recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the house’s resurrection.
- Bill Cogburn