Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Time Capsule Made of Paper

The Kerrville Mountain Sun, December 3, 1953
A friend brought by an old Kerrville newspaper this week, the December 3, 1953 issue of the Kerrville Mountain Sun. The yellowed newsprint is like a time capsule, and poring over the pages I felt I was visiting our community almost 60 years ago.
Many of you will remember the Salter family who owned and published the newspaper: Mrs. W. A. Salter, and her son Forrest. The Kerrville Mountain Sun office was downtown in the 700 block of Water Street, between the Arcadia and the corner of Water and Earl Garrett streets. It was a busy little office with noisy linotypes converting molten lead slugs into type, with news desks piled high with work, but peopled by a staff that always had time to stop and visit this printer's kid when he walked in.
There are many interesting stories in this particular issue, from a headline announcing "Santa Claus to arrive by plane Friday, parade through town, to greet youngsters at Courthouse."
The chamber of commerce committee responsible for Santa's arrival was led by Bob Lunsford.
"St. Nicholas will arrive at the Louis Schreiner Field at 6 p.m. Friday evening, and will ride into town on a big red fire truck.
"John Armstrong and the excellent Tivy Band will meet Santa at the courthouse, and will have a short parade through the gaily lighted business district of the city, then will return to the courthouse.
"Jimmy Ray will lead the community singing, and will extend Santa his official welcome. The jolly St. Nicholas, in his new read suit, will greet all the youngsters inside the courthouse, which will enable all of the smaller children to talk to him without crowding or pushing."
Another interesting story: "Trans-Texas to start air service Dec. 19."
"At long last, Trans-Texas Airways has notified the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce they are ready to start scheduled air service to the Texas Hill Country."
That's right, Gentle Reader: Kerrville had not only a railroad depot in 1953, but an airport terminal with regularly scheduled flights. Simpler times.
On the same front page the Kerr County Historical Commission was seeking volunteer writers and artists to help with the 1956 Kerr County Centennial. Those who participated in the 1956 event unanimously report it was a really big deal, one of the biggest celebrations ever staged in our community.
"Can you write a poem?  Can you write a song? Can you write a pageant?" the article asks. History records they found plenty of help for the event.
The births for that week were front-page news, as were the marriage licenses.
I checked some of the ads, marveling at the prices.
Schreiner's Cash Food Store, "where your dollar has more cents," offered free delivery morning and evening. Prices for a pound of Folger's coffee, 85 cents; chuck roast was 35 cents a pound; 2 lbs of Velveeta was 88 cents; and a 5 lb bag of sugar was just 48 cents.
H. E. B. offered Miracle Whip for 2 cents a pint less than Schreiners, at 29 cents; their price on canned tomatoes also beat Schreiners, at 10 cents for a 16 oz. can. In most cases the H.E.B. prices matched or beat Schreiners, although this is just one newspaper, and I'm sure the ads differed greatly from week to week.
There are ads for a lot of stores I remember: The Vogue, which was owned by the Coopers; Lewis' Jewelry Store, which was later Brehmer's Jewelry;  Peterson's Garage and Auto; Reiter's Auto, which on Water Street just past today's One Schreiner Center; Burton Insurance; and Swayze Photo Studios.
And there are advertisements for companies still in existence, but they're few: Fidelity Abstract and Title Company; Kerr County Abstract Company; H. E. B., of course; Pat's Hall in Fredericksburg, recently reopened after a long absence; and the Garrett Insurance Agency.
My favorite part of the old Kerrville Mountain Sun  is (as always) the column written by Mrs. W. A. Salter, "It Happened Here."  In this particular issue the lead item caught my attention:
"In our mailbox are many varied requests from as many types of people," and here is a sample:
"Will you please not put in the paper any more how much it costs to hunt deer in Kerr County, to say nothing of how much venison or turkey costs per pound, aviordupois, when they are killed. It seems that my wife reads your paper, and what's more she's got a memory like an elephant. This year when I begun to look over my hunting equipment, she comes at me with this list of how much each item costs, plus the trip, plus the lease, plus refreshments and entertainment, and the story cost me a good fur coat. Not made out of deer skin either, but according to her figures, the cost was about the same. Please, don't do it again!"
Until next week,  all the best.
Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who used to be a frequent hunter.  This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times on October 27, 2012.


  1. I notice the TBC choir got front page also.

  2. My father flew for Trans-Texas.

    It didn't last very long in Kerrville (not enough business).

    Years later, Trans-Texas merged with Texas International, which later merged with Continental.

  3. I remember that the Mountain Sun office was on two levels.

    The upper level (office and front counter) was at street level (Water Street).

    The printing room was down below. It may have been part of the basement; I'm not certain.

    Was there a staircase in that building? I don't remember.

    All I remember is a ladder that was utilized for travel between the upper and lower levels of the Mountain Sun office.

    Speaking of no staircase, the red brick building at the Ice House had no staircase.

    Does anyone have photos of the old Ice House (inside or outside) during construction, everyday utilization, or demolition?

    If so, would you please loan them to Joe, for his blog.

    That old Ice House was part of Kerrville's history.

    The photos would be a great treasure to share.

  4. Loved the "Hunting" letter.....Needed a good chuckle this morning.


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