KWA Newsletter Articles

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. 

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. 

Keep an eye on the convergence of S. Alamo and Pereida Streets in February.  A new public art project is being created and will be installed on that corner in the coming weeks.  The Cultural Arts Committee of the King William Association commissioned local artist Jennifer Khoshbin to create seating that invites travelers to take a “pause” in their stroll through our historic neighborhood.

Spring is just around the corner, and Valentine’s Day is a good time to get started on this year’s garden.  Fertilize lawns, shrubs and flowerbeds if has been three or more months since the last time.  Use an organic fertilizer.  It will not burn plants, so you can wait a while to water it in and hopefully spring rains will do the job.  SAWS rates went up January 1, so every little bit helps.  Also, mulch around shrubs and in flowerbeds to a depth of 3 to 5 inches.  This will keep roots cool and preserve soil moisture as it gets warmer. 

As part of the ongoing San Pedro Creek Improvements Project, there is some planned construction taking place in the King William area at the bank of the San Antonio River.  The project requires the water level of the river to be temporarily lowered, which will also impact pedestrian access along the west bank of the river.  The San Antonio River Authority is working diligently to minimize the disruption to area residents and anticipates all construction in the area to be completed by the end of March. 

The San Antonio Art League learned in December that it was awarded a grant from the Semmes Foundation for $20,000 to update the outside studio and storage building next to the gallery. 

Among the details of our plans are an accessible restroom and expansion of the teaching space.  Several successful workshops have already been taught in the space, demonstrating the feasibility of the building as an effective venue for learning and outreach.  Future plans for the space include workshops for children and adults, and educational events for the public that align with the SAALM’s well-regarded permanent collection.

A 93-year old woman paid a visit to our home recently.  For the past 71 years, she has treasured a photo of our house, taken in 1945, when she was a young bride.  Her new husband was an Army Air Forces pilot and flew a B-17 bomber.  He'd been shot down during a mission over Berlin, and spent over a year in a German prison camp.  When he was released, they married in North Carolina just before he was ordered to San Antonio for debriefing.  She came here with him on what she calls their “extended honeymoon,” and they lived for seven weeks in a rented bedroom of what is now our home. 

King William-based Wings Press has announced its re-publication of Maury Maverick, Sr.’s 1939 book Old Villita together with subsequent historical notes and watercolors by his granddaughter Lynn Maverick Denzer. Book release, timed to celebrate San Antonio’s 300th anniversary, is set for March. The book will be available at The Twig Book Shop and other booksellers, as well as wingspress.com.

Villa Finale: Museum & Gardens, the final home of local preservationist Walter Nold Mathis and the only National Trust for Historic Preservation site in Texas, recently became the recipient of a generous grant from the King William Association.  This grant helps to ensure that Villa Finale’s educational series for children and families continues to thrive.