There are twelve houses in King William which are here today because of the foresight and thoughtfulness as well as understanding of architectural history which Walter Mathis demonstrated. These twelve houses helped to spur the restoration of many more houses in King William and across the city of San Antonio.

I have been working since April on a series of sketches of these twelve houses which Mr. Mathis rescued. They will be completed by the opening date for the Villa Finale Visitor Center and will be exhibited at my home. Over the next twelve months, I will attempt to write a short narrative or give some historical information for each of the twelve houses, beginning with the Chabot House.

The Chabot House is one of the richest in detail and has been on my drawing board for several months. Curtis Johnson and Leland Stone provided me with a letter from Walter Mathis to the Texas Historical Commission for the marker application. In Mr. Mathis’ application for a marker, he made these comments about the house. I have condensed his comments for the newsletter. “I have been unable to locate any records indicating the architect and contractor.

 

The main part of the house is of extremely hard and well cut limestone. The left side and detached kitchen are of the soft stone used so frequently and cut in this area. All interior walls are plastered directly to the stone and ceilings are plaster on wood lath. The walnut front doors and walnut main stair form the only use of this wood visible. All floors are wide cut pine, rear stair is pine, all porch floors are cypress. Some of the detail on galleries is of pine and some of cypress, a mixture of these woods was used and then all painted. The house after removal of later addition but before restoration clearly showed the quality of wood used, but all indications were that the walnut, pine and cypress materials were of local origin. In restoration these same woods were used where needed.

The original front fence was repaired and replaced including the double entrance gate which had been removed by a daughter of the Chabots and taken to New Mexico. It was purchased by Mr. Mathis and replaced.”

Thanks to Curtis Johnson and Leland Stone for sharing this letter with us.

Henry Rayburn