KWA Newsletter Articles

Neighborhood Archaeologist Spies Possible Acequia Remnant

The Pajalache or Concepcion acequia path is under S. St Mary’s Street, according to research and a map created by the late Waynne Cox.  It began at the San Antonio River’s bend at La Villita and extended past Mission Concepcion.  

SAWS excavated a utility trench across S. St. Mary’s that may have exposed a remnant of the acequia.  SAWS normally schedules such work with the City’s Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) so that OHP can monitor the excavations to record any historic features that might be encountered, but emergency work often does not get listed with OHP.  

Read more: King William Archaeology

Dear Neighbors,

With our newly elected board, we are off to a great start.  I am honored to be re-elected as your President and am excited about serving you for another year.  I want to thank those Board members who are stepping down for your hard work and contributions to the Association and the community.  Your presence on the board will be missed, but we hope you will remain involved! 

This past year was a busy one with several accomplishments including:

Read more: President's Message: October 2017

For many years, the King William Association has been proud to award grants to schools and nonprofit organizations in the King William area.  The mission of the Association is to promote its residents’ educational, cultural and recreational pursuits, as well as to preserve the neighborhood’s historic structures and the diversity of its people.  

In an annual competitive process, organizations submit a grant application outlining their missions and goals, describing the program or project for which funding is requested and how such funding will address the needs of the organization, and explaining how their project fulfills the Association’s mission. 

Read more: KWA Announces 2017 Grant Awards

If you’ve ever needed a first responder in an emergency, you know how helpful they can be.  What do you know about our own fire department?

The SAFD consists of 51 fire stations and 1800 uniformed and civilian employees.  First responders provide service to well over 1 million citizens and visitors within a response area covering over 460 square miles. SAFD responded to over 167,000 emergency incidents in 2015 with medical emergencies accounting for more than 80 percent of total calls.  Through careful resource management, the San Antonio Fire Department (SAFD) has one of the lowest response times and property damage rate for cities of comparable size.  

Read more: The SAFD: On the Front Lines of First Response in Emergencies

The sign on the door said “Closed during August,” but there was a lot of action inside the San Antonio Art League & Museum.  Downstairs, volunteers and board members were carefully sliding out paintings by the Onderdonks, William Merritt Chase and Jose Arpa from their storage spaces as they documented and tagged the 600+ artworks in the League’s Permanent Collection.  Meanwhile, the old Gift Shop was being scaled down to provide more exhibition space.  Upstairs, SAAL&M members were putting together a salon-style Members Gallery that will showcase work by nine different artists every two months.  

Adding to the mix was excitement and anticipation about the blockbuster September exhibit, a solo show by James Wyatt Hendricks, the Art League’s Artist of the Year for 2017. If you haven’t seen it, it’s up until October 22, and it’s not to be missed.  Hendriks’ interpretation of Myth and Hero in metal, resin, paint and Prismacolor fills the gallery with magic. 

Read more: Time to Visit the SA Art League & Museum

Summer is past.  We are officially into fall and there are many things that can be done in the garden.  

Compost and organic fertilizer can be applied to lawns to build soil and strengthen roots for spring growth.  Mulch around trees, shrubs, and perennials to protect roots in case we get some cold weather this winter.  Leave an exposed ring about a foot in diameter around the base of the plants.  

Read more: Out in the Garden with Alan Cash: October 2017

Tastes change, styles change.  What’s popular today is passé tomorrow.  So it is with architecture.

Take the Cook/Keating house at 222 King William Street, which began circa 1890 as a one-story caliche block house.  In 1895, George Kalteyer bought the property at a sheriff’s auction for $2700.  In 1906, his granddaughter, Minnie Kalteyer Cook, inherited the house.  She and her husband, Dr. Fred W. Cook, president of the San Antonio Drug Company, added a second story as well as a porch and Mission style parapet under the guidance of architect Atlee Ayres.  Listed in the archive of Ayres’ architectural plans is “Fred Cook – Residence addition and stable.” 

Read more: Then...and Now: 222 King William

Do you want to be part of The Party with a Purpose year-round?  When you join the Fiesta San Antonio Commission, you become part of a proud tradition celebrating San Antonio’s culture and diversity – and receive benefits all year long!  

Just some of the benefits you will have access to include your very own exclusive annual Fiesta® member medal, special discounts, early access to tickets and opportunities for discounted advertising through the Fiesta® Commission.

Read more: Fiesta San Antonio Commission

SAY Sí presents its annual Muertitos Fest, a 3-day Día de los Muertos festival which celebrates the tradition that ties our city to Mexico and commemorates San Antonio's rich Mexican-American culture. 

Muertitos Fest, one of San Antonio’s most comprehensive Día de los Muertos celebrations, provides an educational context to this important holiday, with three days of unique cultural happenings including: an exhibition of student art, altars to honor the departed, art workshops, food booths, an artisan mercado and live cultural performances.

- Stephen Guzman, Communications Director

EPIcenter, the non-profit transforming the Mission Road Power Plant into a hub for new energy innovation, is hosting its Neighbors for an EPIc Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, October 28, from 8:00 – 10:00 am.

There will be pancakes and sausage, music, games and face painting for the kids, and, for adults over the age of 18, a chance to tour the historic power plant.  Wear your closed-toe shoes if you hope to tour!  Please join us as we open the property to Neighbors for the first time.  This event is FREE!

Watch for more details in the KWA weekly e-blast and, if you have already registered as a Neighbor, in your personal email.

The EPIcenter Neighbors Program is free to residents and property owners in the 78210 and 78204 zip codes.  Neighbors can register at epicenterus.org/connect/neighbors or call me at 210-904-2682.

- Jill H. Vassar
Director of Development and Partnership

Major investments in flood control infrastructure on the San Antonio River over the past 100 years has saved downtown San Antonio in terms of life and property, and has opened opportunity for a growing city center to overcome many of the hurdles imposed by being in the heart of Flash Flood Alley.  

Olmos Dam: The First Line of Defense

Four miles north of downtown, a concrete wall stretches across the open space between Highway 281 and the edge of Alamo Heights.  Olmos Dam was built to prevent destruction of downtown from flooding.  In 1921, lethal amounts of rain caused massive flood waters to engulf downtown San Antonio, killing 51 people.  

The completion of Olmos Dam in 1926 marked the beginning of a comprehensive flood control system to protect downtown.  Following a storm a 1935, the Olmos Dam proved its worth by holding back 20 feet of water, and, for over 90 years now, the Dam has stood guard over downtown.  Since its completion, Olmos Dam has undergone two major upgrades to ensure its continued reliability: once in the 1982 and again in 2010. 

Read more: San Antonio River Flood Control

Come out and join your neighbors and friends for these free musical events sponsored by the KWA Cultural Arts Committee!

Don't forget to bring chairs, beverages, snacks and bug spray! Hope to see you there!

Henry Brun Sextet
Sunday, September 17
Upper Mill Park
5:30 - 6:30 p.m. 

Youth Orchestra of San Antonio
110 Musicians!
Sunday, October 22
King William Park Gazebo
5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Volcan
Sunday, November 5
King William Park Gazebo
5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

- Ethel Pedraza, Concert Organizer

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

 

Congratulations to Zet Baer, Fair Manager, for receiving the 2017 TFEA Dr. Carson Watt Professional of the Year Award at the Texas Festivals and Events Association (TFEA) Conference Awards Luncheon held in Fort Worth on July 28!  Zet was recognized by her peers for her outstanding enthusiasm, expertise and accomplishments in the Texas festival and event industry.  We are truly proud to celebrate Zet’s achievements with her.  

The King William Fair also took home two first place awards at the 2017 TFEA Kaliff Zenith Marketing Awards Luncheon on July 29: Best Event Program and Best T-shirt Design in our event budget category.  Thanks to the designers and staff who made our 50th King William Fair promotional items look so sharp!  

- Syeira Budd, Fair Supervisor

 

Even the signs and advertisements that proclaim “Back to School” have begun to disappear after their fervid flowering at the end of August.  I’m back in the classroom and so is my latest crop of graduate students.  The economy is strong, and they all have part time jobs in the architects’ offices where most of them are likely to begin their post-graduate careers.  Finding an opening as an undergraduate isn’t so easy; employers aren’t as likely to be charitable about less developed skills and translucent resumes. 

Read more: City Lights: September 2017

Every August at the KWA General Membership meeting the slate for next year’s board members are named by the nominating committee in addition members have an opportunity to nominate a qualified member “from the floor”.  This year we have nine returning board members and six new members.  Elections will be held at the September 6 General Membership meeting.  Please come out, vote and meet your board members.  

Read more: Nominees to KWA Board of Directors Named

September 11, 2017 is a special date for the King William Association (KWA) and neighborhood.  It’s the sixth anniversary of the designation of the King William Cultural Arts District (KWCAD) by the Board of Governors of the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Ours was the first Cultural Arts District in San Antonio, and is distinguished by being one of few in the state that was sponsored by a neighborhood group and not a city government. Since then, Zona Cultural, sponsored by the City, was named San Antonio’s second cultural arts district in 2015.  This downtown district is supported by Centro San Antonio, a collection of downtown organizations with a goal to keep San Antonio vibrant. 

Read more: Cultural Arts District Celebrates Sixth Anniversary!

Subcategories

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.