Monday, March 16, 2015

Home for 100 years

The Meeker Place, Kerrville
This property has been held by one family since 1915
It isn't often one family owns a piece of property for a century. Rural land sometimes stays in one family for that long, but it's rarer still for town property to stay in one family for 100 years.
This weekend one Kerrville family is celebrating 100 years of ownership of a town property: Since 1915, the Meeker family have owned a home and some land on Meeker Road, just off of Memorial Boulevard, between Schreiner University and the Veterans Administration Hospital.
Curt and Mattie Meeker had one child, Ernest Burton "E.B." Meeker, who was born in 1893 in Illinois. Later, Curt became ill with what they called the "palsey" in those days. His doctor advised moving to a high and dry climate; if he did so, the doctor said, he might live another two or three years.
The family moved to Kerrville, and after a few years, they bought a 150-acre property on what is now Meeker Road in March, 1915. Living here was good for Curt's health. Instead of living just two or three more years, he actually lived another 50 years here.
The Meeker family settled in, and became a part of the community. E. B. Meeker attended the Marshall Academy in San Antonio, playing football there, and later married a hill country girl, Hallie Francis Richardson. They raised their family here, on Meeker Road.
E. B. and his sons Burton and Franklin ran a feed store on Water Street in the 1940s.
In the 1950s, the house on Meeker Road was purchased by Franklin and his wife, Jerrie. The house had been the home, at one time or another, of Frankin's parents or his grandparents.
It is now owned by Franklin and Jerrie Meeker's children.
I frequently correspond with one of those children: Steven. He and I share an interest in local history, but especially about the work of a local pioneer photographer, Starr Bryden.
Bryden and the Meekers had a long friendship, and recently a trunk filled with Bryden's negatives was found. These rare, historic negatives are being carefully scanned and the images restored.
Congratulations to the Meekers on the century-long ownership of the Meeker place, here in Kerrville.
* * *
The Friends of the Kerr County Historical Commission have put together a display called "The Story of Us: the Impact of Tuberculosis on the Growth of Kerr County," which will be exhibited at the Schreiner Mansion Historic Site and Education Center (226 Earl Garrett Street), from March 7th through October 31st.
You might not know it, but many families today can trace back their arrival in Kerrville and Kerr County to a family member who was ill with tuberculosis. In those days our climate was considered beneficial to the treatment of the disease, and, in some cases, the patient got better and lived a long life here.
Patients began arriving here in the early 1870s, and the first local sanatorium for treatment of the disease opened not long afterwards.
The exhibit includes photographs, memorabilia, medical materials, ephemera, and patient crafts from the several area hospitals and sanatoriums which served tubercular patients.
Several talks are planned about the subject. The next one will be given by Dr. Dan Bacon, who will speak about the V. A. Hospital. His talk will be on April 11th, and all are welcome.
Until next week, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native whose family has owned several local properties for more than fifty years. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times on Pi Day, 03-14-15.

1 comment:

  1. This brings up a question about historic properties in our area. What's to become of the Comparette home, built in 1890? It's looking neglected and is deteriorating. It is a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark. Shouldn't steps be taken to preserve it?


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