KWA Newsletter Articles

The King William Association Charter, asserting the organization’s purpose and intent, was submitted to the State of Texas on July 28, 1967. Seven purposes are listed in the KWA Charter; this article concerns the first:

1. The corporation is organized and shall be operated for educational, recreational, and cultural purposes, especially the presentation and dissemination of understanding of the early life and cultures of the city of San Antonio, TX, and the Southwest as reflected in home life, government, religion, education, industry (work), and the arts and crafts.

What’s to do with all of this dazzling, but overwhelming sunlight?” was the question we first asked ourselves upon the return to the family home. We had been away from Texas for seven years to the cooler climes of the West Coast and abroad. In that time the planet had grown incrementally hotter. The 110 degree summer threw a shocking homecoming. The aquifer was low, electricity for AC prohibitively expensive, and an uninsulated house whose brick walls wouldn’t cool down once they warmed up under the southern sun all made us look for an answer.

The King William Public Art Committee (PAC) is proud to announce its first art installation! Since its inception, the PAC’s mission has been to further the beauty of the King William area, promote area artists and demonstrate the highest level of excellence in public art using a variety of media. As you may remember, in September, 2011, the King William neighborhood was named a Cultural Arts District by the Texas Commission on the Arts. The goals of the Commission marry well with the King William Charter: Strengthen cultural life, promote arts and crafts and produce events that attract people to the area for cultural pursuits.

We are about to start a new growing season. Hopefully we will have "typical" weather. That means no late frost and good rains at the right time. We can only hope.

If it has been more than three months since you fertilized your lawn and flower beds now is the time to do it. Select an organic fertilizer and not a chemical-based one. A good nurrery can suggest one of many good brands now available. Remember you do not have to water in an organic fertilizer immediately after spreading it if time does not allow. It will not burn like chemical products.

2013 is here! I’ve always been mystified by the notion of an unlucky “13.” Even Wikipedia doesn’t have a solid answer as to its origins. But indeed it’s pervasive in our culture, and even the hospital where I perform surgery has over 20 operating rooms but none labeled 13. Interestingly, in other countries like Italy and China, 13 is considered a lucky number. Numerous successful sports figures have worn the number 13 and had good seasons while doing so. In the end, I’m not a big believer in luck anyway, but rather in the concept of making your own luck through hard work and effort.
In this first edition of the 2013 newsletter, I’d like to share a list of some of the things the King William Association Board of Directors and staff have been addressing. I chose 7 to highlight just because it’s lucky!

The Macias sisters, Connie and Mary Lou, have lived in their pretty cottage at 118 Daniel Street for sixty-seven years. They were teenagers in 1945 when their mother, Concepcion Hernandez Macias, widowed just the year before, paid $1,500 down payment on the house.

Concepcion was a teenager herself in 1915 when she arrived in San Antonio with her family, fleeing a pneumonia epidemic in Guatemala. She attended mass at San Fernando Cathedral for the next few years and that’s where she met Liborio Macias. While social conventions of the day kept them from actually “dating,” they took every opportunity to get to know each other during the social hour after mass. Liborio had emigrated to the U.S. from San Luis Potosi, Mexico in 1905 with his mother and brother to escape political unrest at home.

Most of the buildings in the King William Association are located within the boundaries of a Historic District, or are designated as a local landmark. Both of these are “zoning overlays” regulated by the City of San Antonio’s Zoning Ordinance administered by the City’s Office of Historic Preservation (OHP). As a local landmark or by location within a historic district, City ordinance requires you to have your project reviewed by the OHP.

It is all about a process. The best way to start is to contact the OHP and explain your project. From there the OHP staff can guide you through the steps you need to take. Some projects that fall under “repair and maintenance,” like replacing rotted wood, can be approved administratively. The OHP staff will give you a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA). You or your contractor will need to submit the COA and an application to get a permit from the building department.

There are many things I enjoy about our neighborhood, but one of my favorites is the abundance of nature and wildlife that surround us in this urban environment. "A river runs through it" is not only a famous novella and movie, but a simple fact of life in King William. The river is the habitat necessary to maintain the diversity of birds and wildlife around us, and SARA is doing a fabulous job at ecosystem restoration along the Mission Reach.

It has been a good season for gardening. In the month of September, King William received 8 3/4 inches of rain, a bit more than the City as a whole at just over 7 inches.

Be careful about parking your car under a pecan tree. The picture shows what happened to Nora Peterson and Richard Green's car at 227 Adams St. on Sunday afternoon, September 30. A large pecan tree beside their driveway toppled over, crushing their car and damaging the front porch of their home. The tree appeared to be healthy and why it fell is not known. Losing such a tree is a real tragedy. What is lost when a tree dies or is needlessly cut down? The first thing that comes to mind is the loss of shade which keeps utility bills down in summer. But more important is the moisture in the atmosphere. Through fine roots, trees draw water from underground, some from depths of over 200 feet. A single large tree may pump over a ton of water into the sky in a day. This amazing bit of information comes from a book titled Trees by Gretchen C. Daily, printed locally by Trinity University Press, a recent gift from a good neighbor and friend who shares an interest in gardening.

As we look forward to the improvements on S. Alamo Street we must also be mindful of the disruption that this will cause to the flow of traffic in and through our neighborhood.

The Fair staff and Parade Committee recently met with representatives from the City of San Antonio (Public Works and Traffic), SAPD and Bexar County Sheriffs. There was a tremendous amount of brainpower and expertise in the room, which allowed for a very productive time. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the construction along S. Alamo and how it will affect the King William Fair and Parade. All agreed that our primary concern is for the safety and security of residents, participants and Fair visitors.

The project is scheduled to begin November 12 and is expected to last approximately two years. During this time S. Alamo will be closed to through traffic from Probandt to Pereida Streets. Residents and businesses along S. Alamo will have access to their property. VIA will reroute buses to S. Flores.
At this point, we will stay with the parade lineup and route that we used last year. Fair staff will continue to evaluate and monitor the project, communicating with the Project Officer to make sure that the crossings, E. Guenther at S. Alamo and Wickes/Johnson at S. Alamo, will be paved with asphalt in order to maintain a safe thoroughfare. S. Alamo will be open for the flow of pedestrian traffic on Fair day. Work on the entire project will be shut down from April 15 – 28 to allow for Fair and Fiesta preparations.

Again, we know that this interruption to the routes we use to travel to and from the events of our daily lives will present delays and impediments. Please be patient with all involved in the project. In the end, it will all be worthwhile.

- Zet Baer

Historic District designation is a “Zoning Overlay” administered by the City of San Antonio. Two additional zoning overlay districts within the boundaries of the King William Association include NCD-1 and RIO-4. Both NCD-1 and RIO-4 are Zoning Overlays. Each property within the boundaries of these districts has its own base zoning which determines the use of the property. For example, a building could be C-1 for commercial use, such as a retail store or a restaurant, or O-1 for an office use. The overlay zoning districts regulate the property’s architectural and site characteristics.

My view of the King William Association and our community has been shaped by my experiences as surely as yours has. I arrived in San Antonio in 1992 when I began training to be a surgeon at Wilford Hall Medical Center for the USAF. All new officers are sponsored by a local family to welcome them. My sponsors were Warren and Gina Dorlac, who invited me to dinner at their old house on Adams Street. I was enchanted by the neighborhood because it reminded me of the place I had just left behind.

With over five inches of rain overnight on August 19th and more in mid-September, plants have had a growth spurt not usually seen this time of year. Check to see if you have trees and shrubs that need trimming because they now block traffic signs or walkways. Weeds have also come up in abundance. Treat them with a mix of one gallon of 9 % vinegar and 2 ounces of Orange Oil. The vinegar is in the grocery and the Orange Oil at most nurseries. This is an organic mixture and will kill whatever it touches, so be careful.

I have a favorite country and western song that goes by the title of “How can I miss you (if you won’t go away?).”

Well, here I am again after my supposed farewell column in the August newsletter. Our loyal newsletter staff informs me that owing to the editorial calendar, which requires me to submit the text for the September newsletter no later than August 15, I still have plenty of time to contribute one more column. At the end of this column you will see the number -30-. The explanation for that, in case you missed out on the era of green eye-shade journalism, is that it is traditional for columnists to exit the scene with this number as a sign-off at the end of their final opus. Journalists are divided on the origin of this practice, since most articles in the days of letterpress journalism were ended with this number. The origin is thought to have been from the first telegraphed dispatches which always ended with -30-, which is Morse code for “the end” or “finished.”

I should check with my erstwhile editors, but I think this is my last column as President. In September there will be new Board members and a new President. Early indications are that they will all be strong candidates who have already demonstrated a love for King William and devoted ample time volunteering for various tasks here.

Because of the lead-time necessary to meet press deadlines, I’m writing this column on July 6. Like everyone, I’ve returned to work after the midweek holiday a little more sun-burned and a little more fatigued, but much happier. I had a wonderful fourth on our stretch of the River in the annual King William Regatta, the all-for-fun canoe race that seems always to be a summer idyll. Spectators lining the banks and a picnic afterward. Thanks to Marita Emmet, the muse and steward of this wonderful occasion, the lucky participants can always count on the completely ad-hoc event coming off every year. Marita suffers from the curse of success: the event is so beloved by its participants that she can’t retire from organizing it. I don’t know how she feels about the labor, but I’m glad she does it. I know my holiday would be much poorer without it.

“I was only eight years old when HemisFair opened in April 1968," said Debbie Ray,” but I still remember the excitement. The crowds, the music, balloons, popcorn, snow cones, candy apples…it was noisy and colorful. My family attended the fair several times that summer. I still remember the straw hat my mother insisted that I wear because it was so terribly hot. That is literally burned into my memory!”

“The mini-monorail was a big feature of the fair. It was a high-tech contraption that soared high above all the activity below. It was tested over and over again and on opening day, everything went off pretty well except for a couple of minor glitches.” However, a few months into the fair they had a problem. “A rear-end collision due to brake failure brought everything to a halt,” said Jerry Williamson. “Luckily, no one was seriously injured but a lady was thrown to the ground and pinned under part of the wreckage. As they were trying to get to her, she said, ‘No, I'm not hurt, check on the others first.’”

When you stroll through our neighborhood on Fair Day, have you ever wondered about the names given to certain Fair sites – “Pat’s Pub," “Julia’s Veranda," “Ilse’s Attic”? Old timers will recognize those names, but if you’re a newcomer, you might be curious.

Over the years, the various Fair committees have chosen to recognize a few ‘gone but not forgotten’ King William residents who have left an indelible imprint on our neighborhood. It’s yet another way to honor those who have gone before us and to keep their memories alive.