New Kerr County History Book Available!

Sunday, April 11, 2021

A carriage, a banner, and a crown: a puzzle on Kerrville's Main Street, around 1900

This photo, taken on Main Street in downtown Kerrville, contains several puzzles.
Click on any image to enlarge.

This week a treasure trove of historic photos of Kerrville and Kerr County crossed my desk, and I spent several happy hours studying them. While a good amount of reading is required for this column, my favorite part of this hobby is seeing old photographs of our home county – especially images I’ve never seen before.
While going through these photographs, I saw several hundred which were new to me. Gentle Reader: this makes me very happy. Each image adds to our understanding of local history, adding another tile to a grand mosaic.
The photos came from my friends Sandy and Jon Wolfmueller, of Wolfmueller’s Books on Earl Garrett Street, and were in a box of other historic items. I’m very grateful for their generosity.

Here are some of my favorites:
A woman, three children, and a driver in a fancy carriage are pictured in front of the second Kerr County Courthouse, which stood near the corner of Main and Sidney Baker streets. That courthouse was built in 1875, and served our community from 1876 until 1885, only 9 years. I don’t think this photograph was taken during that period. When the third Kerr County Courthouse was built, this building was ‘recycled,’ becoming the county jail. Both of those courthouses were torn down when the present courthouse was built in 1926. 
The entrance gate to 
Methodist Encampment
Automobiles weren’t common in Kerr County until around 1908, and I think the photo was taken before they arrived. My best guess is the photo was taken around the turn of the last century.
There are some interesting details in the photograph. One of the children is holding up a banner, though he has it facing backward, and we cannot read it. He only had one job to do! The driver is wearing a very nice set of clothes. The girls are well-dressed.
The biggest mystery in the photograph: the woman under the parasol is wearing a crown. Evidently this photograph commemorated some social event – though I have not been able to determine what that event might have been. There is one small clue on the back of the photograph: “H. Mosel, at the Depot” ordered a 5x7 print of the image, and was charged 50 cents.
A revival on Clay Street
Another of the photos shows the entrance to the Methodist Kerrville Assembly – which we know as Methodist Encampment. A pretty young woman and a Schreiner student are posing in front of a classic car – I’m guessing sometime in the 1930s. Someone who knows cars better than I will probably have a better guess.
I was interested in the sign hanging beneath entrance gate. It reads “Cottages for Rent/ No Sick/ Also Tourist Camp/ Water & Lights/ Prices O.K.”
Another image shows congregants of the First Christian Church attending a revival meeting. First Christian Church met in what was originally the Union Church; looking up the names of the evangelist and musician, Fox and Jackson, I learned this photograph was taken in September, 1929. The church building was on Clay Street at that time; today it’s been restored and stands on the edge of the Schreiner University campus.
A fly fisherman
Lastly, a fishing photograph, where a fellow in a Stetson and waders has just landed a nice bass. I notice he has his box of tied flies tucked in his back pocket, and his net is attached to a string looped over his shoulder. I chose this photograph because of his tackle – he caught that fish with a fly rod. I always thought I was one of the early fly fishermen in Kerr County, but this old photograph proves me wrong. Though I don’t know who this fisherman was, or when this photograph was taken, I’m pretty sure it predates me by many decades.
Thanks again to the Wolfmuellers for sharing this photograph with me, and with all of us.
Until next week, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who should go fly fishing more often. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times April 10, 2021. 

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