This year’s King William Fair Parade Awards Team – Robert Young, Doane Derricks (KW residents and new Fair/Parade volunteers), Sarah Cooper and John Milam (Parade photographer and assistant) – had a hard time choosing from all the great entries, and insisted that the Parade participants deserved this many awards!
The Awards Team also wanted a special award for the Alamo City Roller Girls. While technically not a Parade entry, they do expertly organize the Parade line-up and flow, and skate the whole route.
For more award photos please check out the web page: kwfair.org/parade.
- Sue Duffy
Chief Parade Wrangler
At the eclectic heart of a diverse and creative city, King William has long seemed to have more than its share of wordsmiths. But every writer needs a publisher to get those words out into the world. Fortunately, King William has that too. From his home on East Guenther Street, which he and librarian and writer Mary Guerrero Milligan have shared since 1979, Bryce Milligan carries on the art and business of publication as owner of a small, brave, and essential San Antonio imprint, Wings Press.
The 2016 King William Parade’s theme was “Geeks in the ‘Hood,” and we were honored by the presence of Michael Girdley (former resident and Fair Chair) as our Grand Marshal with his Geeky Honor Guard from Codeup (San Antonio’s premier coding boot camp), and Geekdom. Many of the participating groups took up the theme in their own sometimes peculiarly geeky way: music geeks, art geeks, book geeks, history nerds, Guide Dog geeks.
Walks can be more enjoyable if you have a destination. Here are two. On the west side of the river, just north of Caesar Chavez Blvd. toward town, is a Texas Naturalist Wildscape Demonstration Garden. It has been there awhile, but with the good weather we’ve had, it is looking very good. It contains many native and adaptive plants that do well in San Antonio and South Texas. Many have tags giving the plant name and its growing habits. Take paper and pen because you may see something you want to add to your garden. The second destination is at 310 E. Arsenal between City St. and S. Main Ave. The home is a new addition to the neighborhood and the front garden is signed as a “Pollinator Habitat.” Here also the plants are native and drought tolerant with the added benefit of attracting visitors such as bees and hummingbirds.
In July 2011 the Texas Commission on the Arts designated our area the King William Cultural Arts District. The mission is to improve the quality of life by promoting educational, cultural and recreational pursuits and activities. In addition to the many museums and galleries in the area we have an extraordinary number of outstanding professional artists. The KW Cultural Arts Committee would like to feature some of them from time to time in the newsletter.
June in South Texas means rain, tapering off toward the end of the month, graduation parties, and weddings. I experienced all three phenomena in May. One of my best graduate students has completed his Masters of Architecture and will be joining our firm. He’s been working part time with us since he enrolled in our Master’s program and has a well-earned reputation for hard work, good humor, and an old fashioned southern gentleman’s sense of courtesy. He came our way from near New Orleans. If he was seeking lower humidity he was sadly mistaken, at least this year.
Stroll down the calm, shady streets of the historic King William neighborhood, and you’ll be transported to the 19th century by the sight of beautifully restored, Victorian-era homes and well-tended gardens. You won’t see many people about, maybe a few neighbors in their yards and a handful of tourists with walking maps in hand. But one Saturday in April each year, the scene changes drastically as a teeming swarm of approximately 40,000 visitors overrun the neighborhood (normally home to fewer than 250 households and businesses) to celebrate the King William Fair.
The San Antonio River Authority (SARA) is contracting with wildlife management specialists over the next few weeks to control the non-native Nutria-rat population within the Eagleland and Mission Reach segments of the San Antonio River Walk. There will be 60 visible trapping mechanisms placed off the trails along the banks of the San Antonio River, and the community is cautioned not to come in contact with these traps for their safety.
The City announced that it will install a “chain chime” near the Union Pacific bridge that crosses S. St. Mary’s St. near Brackenridge High School. The King William and Lavaca neighborhoods asked for this solution in the past, and we’re hopeful that it will work.
For those of you who park on the street, I learned an interesting tip about parking and bike safety that I hope many of you will consider using: When you park on the street, rather than reaching for your vehicle’s door handle with your left hand, use your right hand. This forces you to turn toward the street and slightly behind, looking for cycles, pedestrians, and other through traffic. How hard would it be to form a new habit?
- Rose Kanusky
KWA/LNA Parking & Transportation Committee
Israel S. Ramirez knows our neighborhood well. He is the one responsible for planning and installing the street closure barricades on Fair weekend. His knowledge and passion for the Traffic Control industry is truly amazing and we are grateful to have him as part of our team. Israel started with the King William Fair back in 1972 when he would close off the streets with barricades on his own.
2016 marks the tenth anniversary of Sue Duffy’s volunteer position as Chief Parade Wrangler. She sat down recently with Rose Kanusky to share her story.
R: Your history with the King William Fair is actually much longer than your decade as parade chair. How did it start, especially when you don’t live in Southtown?
S: In the late 80’s through the early aughts, I performed at the Fair with the San Antonio Irish Dancers and various Celtic bands. Around 2003, I was working at the same firm as Tina Garza [a lifetime resident of King William] who asked her co-workers to volunteer for the Fair. I volunteered to work with the parade, and was given the job of organizing the end of the parade during lineup, then marching along with it.
The 2016 King William Fair has passed. My report had to be submitted before the Fair in order to meet the Newsletter deadline, but as I write this, there is a lot of action going on at the KWA office, thanks to the Fair Manager Zet Baer and Fair Coordinator Melanie Whitley, Fair Assistant Syeria Budd and their volunteers. Many folks volunteered to help with the Fair – far too many to thank here. The Fair staff drives the engine but the volunteers provide the energy and it could not happen without them.
Thank you to all the residents, business owners, and property owners who took the time to complete the City’s parking survey. We anticipate that results will be included in the next technical memo prepared by the City’s consultant, which should also address national best practices for residential parking permits.
The consultant produced two other technical memos, one surveying available parking in the area and one surveying the street widths. The consultant is likely to make a recommendation in the coming months that will address our neighborhood parking/traffic issues; however, the recommendation may need City Council approval before implementation.
Thrillist.com “power ranked America’s most beautiful historic ’hoods,” and King William made #11:
“While the area was originally farmland owned by the Mission San Antonio de Valero (aka the Alamo) in the 1700s, this primarily residential neighborhood didn’t really take shape until the 1860s when German immigrants began to settle and build homes in the area. By the late 1800s, it had evolved into the city’s most elegant district. These days, you can stroll the banks of the San Antonio River and check out historic mansions like Villa Finale and the Steves Homestead Museum while admiring the neighborhood’s beautiful Greek revival, Victorian, and Italianate homes, many of which feature plaques out front offering historical info.”
Spring is here and we can plant anything that likes warm weather.
If it has been three months or more since you last fertilized your lawn and flowerbeds, now is the time. Use a good slow release organic fertilizer. Do not look for them at the big box stores because they do not normally carry them. Organic fertilizers do not have to be watered in immediately after application if you want to wait for the next rain shower.
The King William Cultural Arts Committee has started work on the next walking tour brochure, to cover the area between the San Antonio River and South Flores Street. The map below shows the area as it looked in 1886. At the bottom is the SA&AP railroad depot, now replaced with the Salvation Army building.
May is a special month in any year, but this year it stands out as the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. An act of Congress, the legislation provided the basis for the formation of historic preservation agencies in all 50 states, for the creation of local preservation ordinances based on newly written guidelines from the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, and for the identification and formation of local historic districts like King William.
Albert Smith and his co-owners are not new to their location at 1035 S. Presa St. In 2008, they opened Bubblehead there and subsequently sold it. When Albert and his wife, Sara Smith, along with Urban Pradipasena and his wife, Kristine Vu, learned that the location was again available, they were eager to open a Thai restaurant.
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.