Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mystery solved?

For many years I've had 3 images in my collection which I could not precisely identify.  I've posted them several times here, and your observations have helped me form a hypothesis.  The work of John MacCrossan, a friend in Ireland, was most helpful.
Here are the three images:
Parade, Kerrville, Saengerfest, July 16-17, 1908
800 Block of Water Street, facing eastward toward Washington
Parade, Kerrville, Saengerfest, July 16-17, 1908
700 Block of Water Street, facing westward toward Tchoupitoulas (Sidney Baker) Street
Parade, Kerrville, Saengerfest, July 16-17, 1908
200 Block of Mountain (Earl Garrett) Street, looking northeast.
The large banner saying Wilkommen was a clue; the large lyre on the banner was also a clue.  The highly decorated archways was as well.
The final clues came from expanding my search among old newspapers beyond the Kerrville newspapers of the day.  I found several mentions in the San Antonio newspapers about the event, the best coming from the San Antonio Gazette of July 15, 1908:
"Twenty-fourth Saengerfest.  Grand preparations are being made for the holiday of the 24th annual saengerfest of the Gebergs Saengerbund on July 16 and 17.
Eight mail singing clubs and one mixed chorus from Fredericksburg, besides four singing societies from San Antonio, will take part in the concerts.  The music will be provided by Prof. Carl Kloerner's military band, one of the best bands in Southwest Texas.  The last night two balls will be given, one in Pampell's opera house, and the other in Fawcett & Co.'s hall.
There will be 154 male voices in the grand chorus, accompanied by the orchestra.  The local singing club, a Concordia, has gone in a great deal of expense in decorating the streets and preparing for the great event, and thousands of people are looked for.
It was a busy weekend in Kerrville that weekend; the Presbyterian Chautauqua was in full session as well, with Dr. R. E. Vinson giving 'very instructive' lectures on the kingdom of God.
It's my opinion the three photos were taken the same day, moments apart.  One group of singers marched down Mountain (Earl Garrett) street, led by the marching band; then another marched west on Water; and then the last marched east on Water.  Perhaps they met in the middle and sang there in a big chorus.
I'd certainly like to hear your thoughts on my theory.
Here are some weaknesses I see.

  1. Though I've examined the original images very closely, I see no automobiles.  Kerrville, according to several published reports at the time, had automobiles by 1908.
  2. There is a large house at the bend of Water Street about where the A. C. Schreiner home should be.  I do not believe it is the home we see there today, but I cannot identify it.
Share your thoughts with me on this theory in the comments section below.  Thanks!

~~Update 2/13/2012~~

I'm thinking the 1908 date is wrong.  Digging a little deeper, I find Kerrville hosted another Saengerfest here, the 14th annual, on September 3 and 4, 1896.  I think these photos were taken then, in 1896.


  1. Joe,

    Your research is most plausible.

    I think that you may have, at last, found the true description of the mystery photos.

    As for the home or building that you mentioned, the one where the A.C. Schreiner home is located, I looked at one of the Sanborn Maps.

    The Kerrville, Sanborn map that is identified as 1904, page 3, shows the A.C. Schreiner home.

    If that is true, then the 1908 parade photo must be giving us a glimpse of the Schreiner home.

    Granted, while the elevation of the home in the photo does not match the elevation of the current Schreiner home, it is possible that the original home had a different elevation.

    The only other possibility, that I can conceive, is that the home in the photo is a home other than the Schreiner home and only appears, in the photo, to be in the same location as the Schreiner home - an optical illusion.

  2. I may be wrong, but the house in the background looks too close to downtown to be the A.C. Schreiner home.


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