Monday, August 2, 2010

Renovations of the old Charles Schreiner Company

Charles Schreiner Company. 
Although I do not have first-hand knowledge of the restoration work being done at the old Schreiner Company building at the corner of Water and Earl Garrett, I do have a lot of interest in its progress. Like many of you, I peek inside when I'm nearby, looking through the windows at the progress the workmen are making. Gone are the walls and drop ceilings I remember from my boyhood; they've gone back to the original rock and, in some cases, to the original tin ceilings.
Some of the rooms have been rearranged, closing passages between the different sections of the building. These changes will probably make it easier to rent to future tenants; instead of finding just one tenant for the entire building, it can be rented (possibly) to several tenants.
A lot is going on in that particular block. Of course, the most obvious project is the demolition of the old Sid Peterson Memorial Hospital, and, no, I am not privy to whatever plans are being made for that property. I wish I was, or, rather, I wish we all were. I'm sure those plans will be made public in good time. But other projects are underway on the block:  Schreiner University has taken possession of the old Hill Country Museum, housed in Captain Schreiner's home; and the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center has done some remodeling, closing in a portion of the old post office dock. So a total of four major projects are underway in that block, all of which have significance for our community.
Going through my files on the old Schreiner Company building, I found a photograph which I believe has never been published before as well as several diagrams showing the layout of the building, also never published before. What these images say is this: the old building has seen lots of changes since it was originally erected. I suppose the changes now being made are not the last changes the building will see.
The original store was quite small and probably not part of the structure we see today, though, given the Captain's legendary frugality, I would not be surprised if some of the materials used in the original store were "recycled" and used in the construction of the oldest part of today's structure.
700 Block of Water Street in April 1910

I've taken part of the April 1910 Sanborn-Perris map of Kerrville, and highlighted just the block where all of this activity is taking place today.  I've put the modern street names on it -- 2 of the streets had different names then -- and the various buildings on the block, each color-coded by its material type. Blue buildings were stone; yellow, frame; and pink, brick. Charles Schreiner Company's building is shown in the bottom right corner, a stone building divided into three parts, the smaller part being the bank, and the roughly equal-sized parts being the store. The other buildings include Charles Schreiner's residence, the Saint Charles Hotel (where the current hospital demolition is taking place), a private residence, a chicken house, a laundry and a greenhouse.
A railroad spur divides the block, with the lines stopping at Water Street, between the wool warehouse and the bank. It's apparent this has always been a busy block!
Until next week, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who likes old maps. You can get email updates once a day when new articles are posted by clicking here. Thanks for your interest, Joe To connect with Joe, please find him on Facebook at or on Twitter at

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