KWA Newsletter Articles

When Sue Duffy, 2007-2017 Chief Parade Wrangler, first met Diana “Skullyvera” Schmelzer of the Alamo City Rollergirls (ACRG) in 2007, they instantly became friends.  In 2008, they hatched a new Parade tradition when the Rollergirls became Sue’s official wrangler crew.  You’ve no doubt noticed them skating alongside the Parade since then with their “Speed Up” and “Slow Down” signs to keep things moving smoothly.

For exactly 158 years this month, the Guenther Mill has had a prominent presence in our neighborhood proudly anchoring the foot of King William Street.  None of the homes that line King William Street were here when Carl Guenther began building his mill in 1859.  

In 1848, twenty-two-year-old Carl Hilmer Guenther left his native Saxony to cross the ocean in search of the American dream.  He arrived first in New York then traveled to Wisconsin where he worked at a number of jobs – carpenter, farmhand and millworker – before making his way to Texas.

Get your canoe, kayak or paddleboat dusted off to celebrate our San Antonio River with the neighbors!  Stars, stripes and glitter galore!  Dogs and kids particularly welcome in the boats!

King William neighbors are invited to celebrate Independence Day with our wacky traditional regatta on the morning of July 4th.  First we paddle the river.  Some folks race, some folks leisurely drift through.  Everyone decks out in stars and stripes, the more outrageous the better.  Afterwards we have an award ceremony and party.  If you live in the area, you are invited to participate.  If you need a boat to borrow or have a boat to lend, please let me know so I can match up the participants with the gear.  

Please contact the Commodore of the King William Yacht Club for times and details (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).  

- Marita Emmett


This short column was launched to help keep neighbors informed about KWA board activities.  It is not intended to replace the official minutes, and the content can be blamed on the author, not the Association or its secretary. 

The board met on March 21, 2018, and welcomed its new executive director, Tracy Moon. The board took formal action to allow Tracy to be added to the bank accounts. Tracy was introduced to the neighborhood at the spring social at the recently reopened Francis Bogside on April 4, 2018. 

March marks the 32nd annual celebration of Contemporary Art Month in San Antonio.  What began as an event at the Blue Star Contemporary in 1986 has grown into an event featuring the work of local artists in museums, galleries and studios across the city and beyond. 

Coordinating the events of the month is the Contemporary Art Month organization (CAM), an independent non-profit started in 2003 in response to the need for a central source of information regarding the activities and calendar of the month.  The mission of CAM is “to promote and raise the national profile of San Antonio contemporary art and artists by organizing and facilitating a month-long celebration of contemporary art, providing marketing support, and by organizing and facilitating public programs.”  CAM sponsors several free educational programs during the month for the public, as well as an open call for artists.  On CAM’s website,, artist-run spaces, commercial spaces and institutions can submit listings for the calendar for a nominal fee.  Artists are welcome to list their studios for free.  This website is a great resource for navigating art-y events.

In 1987, the King William neighborhood was invaded by Hollywood when a short segment of the movie Nadine was being filmed in the 300 block of Madison Street.  At first, the neighbors thought it was exciting to have the film crew working in the neighborhood, but after a few days of noisy generators humming away all night and bright flood lights late into the evening, the glamour quickly wore off. 


Texas Public Radio is partnering with the San Antonio Film Commission and Slab Cinema to present six free outdoor screenings of films shot in San Antonio, at their actual filming locations.

  • March 17: Wings, Fort Sam Houston’s Quadrangle
  • March 20: Miss Congeniality, Arneson River Theater
  • April 7: Viva Max!, Hemisfair
  • May 2: The Sugarland Express, South Park Plaza
  • May 9: Selena, Central Library
  • May 21: Go Down, Death, Sunset Station

Screenings start at dusk. See TPR's Facebook Events page for more details.

We were thrilled to unveil our 2018 King William Fair logo artwork and introduce artist Paula Cox at the February General Membership Meeting!  Please read on to learn more about Paula and her inspiration for this year’s logo artwork.

- Syeira Budd, Fair Manager

I moved into the King William neighborhood in 2005 when I purchased my wonderful home from Mike Schroeder and began my adventures on Madison Street.  As an artist, I’ve been involved in Southtown gallery spaces and First Fridays for years, so to move into the neighborhood was a special treat!

Drive by the corner of S. St. Mary’s and Eagleland on Sunday morning and you can probably guess why the parking lot is full at San Antonio Mennonite Church.  But you might be curious about why so many people are there throughout the week.  You might be seeing the staff of the PEACE Initiative, planning a workshop for domestic violence victims or offenders.  It could be the yoga class for community workers, sponsored by the Center for Formative Action and Reflection.  Maybe you see students, young and old, taking accordion lessons with the Conjunto Heritage Taller.  Perhaps you catch the comings and goings of people affected by sexual abuse, helping to heal through a poetry class called Me Too/Yo Tambien.  If you see families working in the garden, they could be harvesting organic baby greens to sell to a local restaurant.  A young mom and dad might be taking advantage of the Teen Parenting Resource Room.  Volunteers might be coming to the building to be trained to work with refugees, in conjunction with the Interfaith Welcome Coalition.  If it is the First Friday of the month, there may be events happening on the lawn: poetry readings, live music performances, food, and crafts.  Last December, Teatro Audaz performed a Pastorela in the church sanctuary, and the same space hosted a Dream Week event in January.

Nurseries and garden centers are starting to get supplies of flowering annuals.  Take advantage of early sales, but wait until at least mid-March to plant them to avoid a possible late freeze.  Warm weather bulbs such as caladiums should not be planted until early April as the soil warms.  They can rot if the soil is too cool and moist.

There are different theories about how long winter hangs around.  Some say we can have a freeze anytime up to Easter, which this year is April 1.  Others say that the danger of a killing frost is past once the mesquite tree puts on new leaves.  For King William area gardeners, one to watch is in the side garden at 735 E. Guenther St.  Nothing is as unpredictable as the weather.  Take note and plant accordingly. 

"HIV CASES ON THE RISE” a recent edition of our local daily screamed in 48-point type. Behind the alarming headline — and the alarm is real and appropriate — lay another story, voiced in part by King William neighbor Dr. Barbara Taylor: a story of compassion, progress, and hope.

As clinician, researcher, and teacher — she is associate professor in infectious diseases at UT Health San Antonio and adjunct faculty at the UT School of Public Health — Taylor focuses on prevention and management of HIV infections. The rate of new HIV infections is in decline nationally but still rising in Bexar County, especially in populations underserved by medical care. While infection with the virus was effectively a death sentence when it first emerged in the 1980s, modern therapies can suppress both transmission of HIV and progression to AIDS — if patients are aware of treatment options and receive consistent care.“My patients are super inspiring to me,” Taylor said. “They face so much and come out determined to live, support their families, engage with the community. It’s amazing.”

The Fair is pleased to welcome new staff member Alicia Spence-Schlesinger to the team!  Alicia joined us in December as a Fair Coordinator and has jumped right in with the requisite Fiesta spirit by focusing her creative and organizational skills on redesigning our website, updating our social media and marketing plans, coordinating our corporate volunteer program, and assisting with our Art & Craft vendors, among many other tasks.  Alicia has also taken on the distinguished responsibility of Chief Parade Wrangler after learning the ropes by working closely on the 2017 Parade with Sue Duffy, our dearly departed Chief Parade Wrangler.

In preparation for the reissuance of Mary Burkholder’s book, Down the Acequia Madre, Al Rendon is taking pictures of the exterior of houses in the Acequia Madre Historic District.  The pictures will be taken during the next couple of months, at all times of the day, whenever the light is most flattering for individual houses.

It is easier for Al to take a good picture if the houses are free of clutter such as yard signs, trash cans, empty flower pots, leaves on the roofs, etc.  One of the more important but most difficult things to have is the curb in front of your house free of cars!

We are launching this short column to help keep neighbors informed about KWA board activities.  This column is not intended to replace the official minutes, and the content can be blamed on the author, not the Association or its secretary. 

On January 17, 2018, several neighbors attended the board meeting to express their opinions about short-term rentals (STRs) and parking issues.  After hearing from these neighbors, the board finalized its letter to City Council, staff and applicable commissions that opposes non-owner occupied STRs (Type 2) in historic districts.  The letter also requests that the City prohibit any amplified noise at STRs, decline to grandfather existing STRs, and apply the bed and breakfast ordinance to STRs. 

Welcome to 2018, a year of change for the King Williams Association.  Last year we said goodbye and good luck to Cherise Bell, our first Executive Director.  In her five years with the KWA she took a wholly volunteer organization and turned it into a professionally run association with influence beyond its borders and throughout the city.  We wish her luck in her new role as a historic preservation consultant.