Finally...

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Cascade Pool

Recently I gave a presentation at the Schreiner Mansion, where I paired historic photographs with snaps I'd taken that day with my phone.  I did this because I realized most people haven't studied area photographs as I have, and so it's sometimes confusing to know where an historic photo was taken. So I took a copy of each historic photograph with me, and tried to find the exact spot where the old photograph was taken -- and then I took a photo with my cellphone.   Over the next few Wednesdays, I'll publish the results here.  Please feel free to share these with your friends.
Click on any image to enlarge


The Cascade Pool, at the end of Earl Garrett Street, where
Earl Garrett met the Guadalupe River bluff.
In the background, you can see the back of the Arcadia Theater, above
the dressing rooms for the pool.
The back of the Charles Schreiner Bank (most recently BankAmerica)
sits where the pool once stood.
Earl Garrett Street no longer extends to the bluff.
I often post historic photographs on my Facebook page.  If you'd like to visit that page, please visit www.facebook.com/joe.herring

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Doyle School

Students at Kerrville's Doyle School, 1947
Click on image to enlarge
This weekend the Doyle Exes Club will hold its reunion, a celebration of former students of Kerrville's Doyle School, which was a segregated school for African American students. The school closed in 1966 when all students were integrated into one school system.
Though the school represented racial division of our community, with students separated by race, and with funding inequalities between the two separate systems, many of the former students have justifiable pride in their former school, and are proud to be part of the Purple and White of Doyle High School.
That's because, despite the injustice of the situation, Doyle School had great teachers and support from its families -- and because of their determination, students received an excellent education there. The hurdles the school and its students faced were not fair, but the school overcame them with grace and strength.
According to a history of the school, the "first records of black students finishing a course of study in the Kerrville area was in 1885 when three students graduated from the tenth grade. There were only two more records of graduates between 1885 and 1900. However, from 1900 until the integration of the black school [completed in the mid-1960s], complete records are on file.
"The first record of a black school in Kerrville was in 1909. A new white school was built and one of the old buildings was given to the black community. In order to have the frame structure moved, they would have to come up with the money to have it moved. The black community raised $53 to move the structure to their property." Sources differ as to where that first school was sited, though it was likely near the intersection of Schreiner and Francisco Lemos streets; other sources say an early name for the school was the "Cabbage Hill School."
Early teachers in that school included a Mr. Burton, and later Mrs. A. W. (Annie) Doyle. It was for Mrs. Doyle that the school was named, though it was named for her much later, when Mr. and Mrs. B. T. Wilson arrived at the school in the early 1940s.
In the late 1930s a new building was built for the school, for a cost of $5,171. The new building had three classrooms, an auditorium, two restrooms, and two storage rooms. The school was called the "Kerrville Colored School." Changing the school's name was one of the first things the Wilsons did -- and they chose to honor Mrs. Doyle, who, for many years, had been the school's only teacher, and who had donated the land for the school.
In 1942, B. T. Wilson wrote the school's alma mater. I've enjoyed hearing former students proudly sing of the Purple and White, most recently at the funeral of Itasco Wilson, B. T. Wilson's widow, and an educator at the school.
The Doyle Exes Club was organized in 1980 with Mr. Walter Edmonds, Sr., as its first president. Soon after, Mrs. Earline Smith led the group, and the group's first reunion was held in 1981.
The group gets together to remember their school days, of course, but they've also provided scholarships to college-bound students for many years.
There has been some talk that this weekend's event will be the last reunion. Many of the surviving students are facing the issues you'd expect for a group of people who graduated from high school more than fifty years ago -- health and mobility issues. But, as a friend told me, you never know: there might be more reunions in the future. This group has a history of overcoming adversity.
This is a big weekend for the community: not only is the Doyle reunion scheduled for this weekend, but on Saturday morning a historical marker is scheduled to be unveiled at the Famous Door, home of one of the oldest black-owned businesses in the community.
Until next week, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who has very fond memories of B. T. and Itasco Wilson.  This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times July 25, 2015.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Cone Car Company/ Voelkel Building

Recently I gave a presentation at the Schreiner Mansion, where I paired historic photographs with snaps I'd taken that day with my phone.  I did this because I realized most people haven't studied area photographs as I have, and so it's sometimes confusing to know where an historic photo was taken.  So I took a copy of each historic photograph with me, and tried to find the exact spot where the old photograph was taken -- and then I took a photo with my cellphone.   Over the next few Wednesdays, I'll publish the results here.  Please feel free to share these with your friends.
Click on any image to enlarge
The building, when it was a Service Station, sometime in the early 1950s.
I believe this building started out as the Cone Car Company's service department,
and was built around 1926.
The building as it appears today, home of the Voelkel Engineering company.
Interesting factoid about the building: it has been owned by two separate Kerrville city managers,
first by G. S. Cone (who planted the cork trees by the old city hall),
and later by Dellie Voelkel.
I often post historic photographs on my Facebook page.  If you'd like to visit that page, please visit www.facebook.com/joe.herring

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Last Wool Warehouse

The Schreiner Wool and Mohair Commission Company warehouse, 1937
Few today realize how important wool is in the story of our community.
The earliest settlers usually brought other livestock, horses and cattle. Sheep arrived later, when Caspar Real brought in the first flock in 1857, to his ranch on Turtle Creek, though that first flock did not do well, and had to be moved back to Bexar county.
Real didn't give up, and tried again later. Meanwhile, S. B. Rees brought a different flock of sheep to our county at his ranch near the mouth of Turtle Creek. Other ranchers brought in additional flocks, but the "sheep business was in an experimental stage until about 1875," according to a history of our community written by Matilda Marie Real.
Many of the most recognizable names from our county's history were involved in those early days of sheep raising: Rees, Schwethelm, Schreiner, Real, Burney, Starkey, Tivy, Coldwell, and Moore.
By 1879 an organization had been formed by the wool growers of Kerr county, for their mutual assistance, and twenty-four charter members began what became a major industry in our community.
According to Bob Bennett's book on our county, "one of the biggest problems that confronted the pioneer sheep and goat men was finding a ready market for their products. Lack of transportation and the distance from eastern markets plagued the industry for years before the problem was solved largely through the business acumen of Capt. Charles Schreiner, who instituted a cooperative market and warehouse system which remains in use today [1956] in all major wool and mohair producing areas of the nation.
"Captain Schreiner...established his store in Kerrville in 1869. He stored wool clips of the early sheep raisers and sold the wool on consignment, freighting to San Antonio by ox teams. As sheep raising thrived and increased, Capt. Schreiner's wool business expanded and outgrew his original store and he enlarged his facilities from time to time."
In fact, an argument could be made that income from wool and mohair helped save many a ranch in the hill country, because it allowed for diversification, and offered income several times a year. And there is also evidence this industry fueled a great part of Captain Charles Schreiner's personal wealth, perhaps to a greater degree than did any of his many other interests.
An original wall of Schreiner's downtown wool warehouse still stands; it is the curved wall of the Schreiner Building (and current home of CarteWheels Caterers), the wall which is parallel and closest to Sidney Baker Street.
Even that larger warehouse was soon too small to handle the business, and in 1935 the Schreiner Wool & Mohair Commission Company built a new warehouse on McFarland Street in Kerrville. Bennett writes the new warehouse had a capacity of four million pounds of wool and mohair.
Meanwhile, in Ingram, another large wool and mohair commission warehouse was operated by J. W. Priour, Sr., and his sons J. W. and Dale Priour.
The Ingram location suffered a major fire years ago and was not rebuilt, but the Priour family stayed in the wool and mohair business, including through Ranchman's Wool and Mohair, which operates out of the old warehouse on McFarland Street.
Several folks have stopped by to let me know that warehouse is closing, and Ranchman's is referring business to the Priour-Varga warehouse in Rocksprings, meaning the last wool warehouse in Kerr County is closing.
Wool has been a very important industry for our county -- and wool growers will continue to make contributions here for many years to come. It's an industry with a rich tradition here.
Until next week, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who can usually tell the difference between a sheep and a goat, though it sometimes takes several guesses.  This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times July 18, 2015.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Then and Now: Earl Garrett Street, Downtown Kerrville

Recently I gave a presentation at the Schreiner Mansion, where I paired historic photographs with snaps I'd taken that day with my phone.  I did this because I realized most people haven't studied area photographs as I have, and so it's sometimes confusing to know where an historic photo was taken.  So I took a copy of each historic photograph with me, and tried to find the exact spot where the old photograph was taken -- and then I took a photo with my cellphone.   Over the next few Wednesdays, I'll publish the results here.  Please feel free to share these with your friends.
Click on any image to enlarge

Parade, 14th annual Saengerfest, September 1896.
The parade is marching down Mountain Street (now called Earl Garrett Street),
toward Water Street.  
The scene as it looks today.

I often post historic photographs on my Facebook page.  If you'd like to visit that page, please visit www.facebook.com/joe.herring

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