I have been busy scouring the ’hood and have some suggestions for you for a PERFECT King William and Southtown Day.

Start your day at Halcyon Southtown in the Blue Star Arts complex with a cappuccino and a yogurt parfait or maybe a breakfast sandwich. Take your laptop, a great novel, the Express-News or your KWA Newsletter – sit at one of the outside tables to read – and enjoy your early morning.

I’ve reclaimed my second floor back porch and the view of the sunsets after the replacement of decayed decking and repainting. Having wooden porches is not unlike owning a boat. My tree-shrouded vessel is always exposed to the elements and always in need of maintenance, even in the safe harbor of King William. The effort required to keep things in good trim isn’t quite enough to explain the disappearance of porches from American houses. The kind of open hospitality and embrace of community that porches represent has slowly fallen victim to rising building costs and construction regulations that put a premium on enclosed, air-conditioned spaces.

Recently, I was asked if I’d like to bark reviews of my favorite walks in the neighborhood for the newsletter. I took a nap to snooze on it. Afterwards, I felt the need to walk and the idea sounded like fun. I decided to write about the walk from the Johnson Street footbridge to the Nueva Street Dam, my favorite as a pup.

The footbridge has plazas on both ends, each with a pair of tall pointy spires. These are perfect places to leave your beginning and ending “pee-mail”. I should mention right now, have a big drink of water before leaving home. There are so many great things and places to leave pee-mail on this walk.

Spring has brought with it the annual reminder that some kinds of human activity can be beneficial for the planet. Our lives in King William are lived under the greatest green canopies in the city. The leaves have reappeared and are now fully unfurled like thousands of pennants animated by the slightest movement of air. The first bright greens of early spring have deepened into richer, deeper, hues, signaling the darker pools of shade collecting on the ground beneath them.

With the weather turning warmer, people are heading outside to enjoy the outdoors. The San Antonio River Foundation aimed to make this more comfortable by installing two art benches along the Mission Reach section of the San Antonio River Walk to offer walkers and cyclists resting points. The benches also offer enticing aesthetic designs by local artists who have each put their own stamps on the benches.

The Central SAFFE Office phone number is 207-7413. Any SAFFE Officer can try to answer your question or take your message for another officer.

Officer Robert Esquivel took over Officer Santos’ post. He can be reached at the Central SAFFE Office or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

Your Membership Committee has been very busy this year. Our goal is to increase membership in the KWA and to increase the benefits of membership. We have established three programs to achieve these goals.

Membership Card

By now you should have received your membership card in the mail with the latest KWA directory. This card will help you keep your membership current by reminding you of the expiration date, but this little card does so much more! Show your membership card when you patronize any of the local businesses below to receive discounts:

  • A Dream Weaver Florist – 20%
  • Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum – $3 entrance fee instead of $5
  • Guenther House River Mill Store – 20%
  • MadHatters Tea House & Café – 10%
  • Robert Hughes Gallery – 10%
  • The Friendly Spot – 10% on Tuesdays
  • Tito’s – 10%
  • Villa Finale – 10% on entrance fees

We are also negotiating with many other restaurants and businesses in our neighborhood and beyond. If you have a good relationship with a local business, you might mention this program to them and invite them to participate.

San Antonio Mennonite Church has had a home in the King William neighborhood for nearly three decades, although its building (at 1443 S. St. Mary’s) has been around for much longer. The red tile roof, white stucco walls and intricate windows make it a fine piece of Mediterranean architecture. Mennonites, having Anabaptist roots similar to the Amish, do not ordinarily worship in such fancy church buildings. Simple living is part of the faith tradition; but in the mid-1980s, a group of Mennonites began worshiping in the fellowship hall of the church, which at the time was Westminster Presbyterian. A few years later, the Presbyterian church decided to sell the building to the Mennonites.

Every semester students in Professor Sinclair Black’s Urban Design Seminar from the School of Architecture at U.T. Austin come to San Antonio for a day long walking tour that they cheerfully refer to as the “forced march.” For the last few years I’ve been asked to be co-tour guide, and it was on this same tour with the same professor, a mere 30 years ago, when I first saw the house I live in now.

The evening of November 8 saw a celebration of the creativity of seniors on the lawn, verandahs and inside the beautiful rooms of the Commander’s House on S. Main Avenue. Musicians contributed to the atmosphere that the Commander himself would have appreciated. The fun and fellowship was undeterred by the few drops of rain on an otherwise lovely night. Director of the Senior Center, Gloria De La Cruz-Sandoval, and the Bexar Senior Advisory Committee and Entertainment, Special Events Subcommittee, along with a host of hard working volunteers deserve high praise for this event.

At SAY Sí, success is measured by artistic growth and personal development. It is recognized when a student learns a new technique, applies it in a finished project and shares his or her skills with fellow student-artists. This unique approach to education has placed SAY Sí on the national stage, with recognition as one of the top out-of-school-time organizations in the country by the Wallace Foundation, a national philanthropy that researches and reports on exemplary out-of-school-time organizations.

I’ve been asked to write an occasional column, and as most of my neighbors know, I have a problem with that little word “no”. Just can’t seem to summon it up when desperately needed. Of course, if one is going to write a column, it probably needs to be called something. What to do?

I was ruminating on this while doing what I usually do after a long day, sitting on my second floor front porch in the rocker I inherited from the last owners of my house. While sipping a glass of wine I was looking at the downtown lights twinkling among the silhouettes of the skyline. What I’ve come to love about my house is that it makes a perfect observatory. It’s extraordinarily tall, so the second floor porch is at the elevation of a more typical third story. The front porch not only frames a wonderful view of the Tower Life Building, it also looks toward the Tower of the Americas when the leaves are off the trees across the street.

For the first time, San Antonio was ranked on Bicycling Magazine’s 2012 “America’s Top 50 Bicycle-Friendly Cities” list. The bicycling culture of King William and neighboring Southtown communities helped contribute to San Antonio’s new-found status as a bike-friendly city. What makes King William so bike-friendly? For starters, a large percentage of residents use bikes to get around our neighborhood. We have bike lanes on two of our major thoroughfares: Alamo Street and Main Avenue. Furthermore, nine B-cycle stations are located within and around our community.

The Texas Commission on the Arts awarded the King William Association a $1,500 Arts Respond grant at its September board meeting for the production of a new walking tour brochure. We are very pleased to have been awarded this competitive grant.

The KW Public Art Committee is spearheading this effort with the brochure subcommittee, whose members include Jose DeLara, chairman, Patricia Duarte, Maureen Brown and Janis DeLara. The new brochure will cover the eastern side of the historic district, and include homes that the subcommittee members have researched.

When the U.S. Army declared the arsenal surplus property at the end of WWII, civic and business leaders saw an opportunity to negotiate to acquire the use of the buildings and grounds and to provide better connections for the south side to downtown. A proposal published in the San Antonio Light in December 1946 showed both Main and Dwyer extending through the property, together with Martinez extending east-west a bit south of today’s Cesar Chavez Blvd. Other news articles of the time showed the keen interest in these proposals:

In September the King William Association received a Special Project Canvassing Sheet from the City of San Antonio seeking approval or objection and comments on HEB’s request to close S. Main Avenue between Cesar Chavez Blvd. and Arsenal St.

Before voting on HEB’s request, board members Max Martinez, Jim Johnson and Paula Cantrell, along with other concerned neighbors and our County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, met with Todd Piland and Dya Campos, HEB’s executive vice president for real estate and public affairs officer, respectively. We went to this meeting with a list of questions and concerns regarding HEB’s proposal. HEB’s representatives answered most of our questions by stating that details were not yet available. The board members who attended this meeting reported to the full board before the vote on KWA’s response to the canvass letter was taken.

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.

Read the article

The King William Association is a nonprofit organization with a small staff that cannot accomplish all that needs to be done. Plus, the KWA works on issues that can impact you. There are plenty of opportunities to invest your time and energy as a volunteer.

The committees listed in the current by-laws for which members are needed are: Membership, Finance, Planning, Fair, Community Concerns, Home Tour, Tourism Management, Newsletter and Publicity. Committees that facilitate programs are: Graffiti Wipeout, Public Arts, Sidewalk and Socials.

Neighborhood Watch Block Captains are also needed. Contact Patty Duarte at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

You can refer to your KWA directory, call the office at 227-8786, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for an explanation about a committee’s activities. Together, let us invest in keeping King William the best place to live and work!

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.