Monday, June 6, 2011

The only constant is change

So much has changed in Old Town Kerrville lately, and so many more changes are on the way. Feeling a bit nostalgic, I searched an found this in my files:
My first memories of the Kerrville Daily Times are from the time when the newspaper used to be housed in what is now called the Downtown Executive Center on Earl Garrett Street. That building, in the 300 block of Earl Garrett, faced the courthouse. You entered by glass doors opening to a long counter. Behind the counter was a jumble of desks in a large room; the printing equipment was beyond the offices in the back of the room. I seem to remember Kit West at work there, a former section editor who was also our neighbor. I remember Bill Dozier, the owner and publisher, of course, and I also remember the desks there were as messy as my own is today. 
It was a busy place, the old Kerrville Daily Times. Everything seemed to be happening in that old big room. My memories of Bill Dozier there are of a kind and patient person who seemed to have time even for youngsters like me.
Around the corner, on Water Street, between the Arcadia Theater and the Heritage Star, in the area now housing the safety deposit boxes for Bank of America, was the office of the other newspaper, the Kerrville Mountain Sun. I remember this office, too, for its several linotype machines, big noisy contraptions that struck type in hot lead. Walking into the Mountain Sun offices was a little more risky; I don’t remember a counter. When you walked into the office you found desks along the wall, and there in front of you were those belching linotype machines.
I know it’s a cliché, but things were a lot simpler then. Everyone knew your name, and everyone spoke to you on the sidewalk. (It was harder to get into mischief when most of the town would report your behavior to your parents before you had a chance to return to the print shop.)
Everything was within walking distance of our print shop: the post office was on the corner, First National Bank and Charles Schreiner Bank were just down Water Street. Speaking of Charles Schreiner Bank, I’m old enough to remember passing the old brass plaque by the door which said “Charles Schreiner Banker, Unincorporated,” and seeing Louis Schreiner, Charles Schreiner’s son, at his desk near the front door. There was also a large scale in the bank we’d always jump on to see how much we weighed.
Earl Garrett Street offered two men’s stores, Water Street had three pharmacies. J. C. Penney’s, Lehmann’s (later Winn’s) and Schreiner’s offered a wide variety of goods. The eight-story Bluebonnet Hotel towered above everything, City Hall and the County Courthouse were nearby, there were dry cleaners, a locker plant, three car dealerships (Peterson’s, Stoepel’s, and Reiter’s) in the downtown area. There were two movie theaters, the Arcadia and the Rialto, though I don’t remember the Rialto showing movies then. There were a bevy of women’s clothing stores, and at least one children’s clothes store, Ken and Mary’s. There were two shoe stores, the Booterie (where Francisco’s Restaurant is today), and Ware’s, which was near the Arcadia. Ware’s had this electronic gadget you could put your foot in and it would tell you your shoe size, showing the size on a screen with lit numerals. It was extremely cool.
In those days, too, publishers and editors were on virtually every committee in town, along with the bankers, hospital and school administrators. Mrs. W. A. Salter, publisher of the Kerrville Mountain Sun, was tireless in her efforts on behalf of Kerrville, and so were the Doziers, the publishers of the Kerrville Daily Times. They worked hard to make Kerrville a better place and I think all can agree our community is better for their efforts. Until next week, all the best.
Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who has very fond memories of the Kerrville of his childhood.  This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times June 2, 2011.

To order Joe's book of Kerrville historical photographs, please click here.


  1. I remember the electronic gadget at Ware's.

    It did indeed measure the customer's foot and give the shoe size. It was wonderful fun, and I loved it.

    I loved it that is until years later when I learned that it was a form of miniature X-Ray machine. Who knew? No one new about such dangers in those days.

    The government finally outlawed the machines - thank goodness.

    Still, it was quite the attraction, for a little while.

    P.S. The Ware's were a wonderful family, and I miss them and their shoe store.

  2. Things were a lot simpler in those days.

    It's true; if you did something that you shouldn't have done (such as climbing on top of the old First National Bank Building) your parents would know about it before you returned home. OUCH!!! Let's not revisit that memory!

    Joe, you write great articles and this is one of your best.

    Why? Because it brought back a flood of memories.

    Thank you.

  3. The Rialto was a great old theater (so was the Arcadia).

    In the theater's early days, the concession stands sold cokes. However, they were in small glass bottles (8 ounces, I believe).

    The concessionaire opened each bottle and poured its contents into a paper cup.

    The cup was given to the theater customer; the bottle was returned to the supplier for a refund.

    Yes, in those days, people who bought soft drinks had to pay a deposit fee on each bottle that was purchased.

    The deposit was returned to the purchaser, when the bottle was returned to the grocery store, or in this case, the theater's supplier.

  4. In the first comment listed above, I said:
    "No one new about such dangers in those days."

    Obviously, I meant to say:
    "No one KNEW about such dangers in those days."


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