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Sunday, May 2, 2021

Amazing Aerial Photos from 1972

Kerrville, 1972
Click on any image to enlarge

Kerrville's Antler Stadium
When it comes to old photographs of Kerr County, I have a pretty good mental inventory of what images I have in my collection. I was surprised, however, when I was moving a box of photographs into a new container and found a bulky sleeve of negatives I’d never seen before.
The sleeve is marked 1972, and it contains aerial images of several hill country towns, including Hunt, Ingram, Center Point and Kerrville. In my defense, they were hidden beneath a box within the container. I never knew they were there.
I’m not completely sure why the aerial photographs were taken, but I’m happy they were. The images brought back lots of memories, and I hope they do for you, too.
In the early 1970s, when I was still in elementary school, my mother had her private pilot’s license, and we often flew together. Those hours with her in a small rented Cessna were happy ones. One of the jobs she gave me was to help keep track of where we were, a job she undoubtably gave me to keep me busy and occupied.
From those experiences, I learned to look at familiar places from a different perspective, a lesson which helped me with these old photographs, too. I spent several happy hours on a recent weekend attempting to identify the places shown in the aerial photographs – and there were over 100 images to go through. Some were of country places, so I couldn’t figure out their location. Most of the towns I finally identified. Using the satellite view on Google maps helped, too.
Camp Verde Store
A lot has changed in the almost 50 years since these photographs were taken. Progress has a way of doing that. Old buildings are torn down, or reconfigured, while new buildings pop up everywhere. 
The Kerrville photos included views of Antler Stadium, Gibson’s Discount, Schreiner Institute, and the downtown area.
The shot of Gibson’s shows the Five Points area behind the store. In 1972, there was no bank building at Five Points; Mamacita’s was more than a decade away. I noticed the Alton James used car lot in the photo, as well as the grocery store building where my father worked when we first moved to Kerrville. A building I remember as a milk distribution facility, which I think was called the American Pure Milk Company, can be seen next to the Five Points CafĂ©.
Center Point
Antler Stadium appears to be in the midst of a renovation project; perhaps it was about this time when the track was added around the field. I can see heavy equipment at work on the site.
Downtown Kerrville looks busy and prosperous. I don’t remember what appears to be a parking lot (or a car dealership) on the empty site of the old Blue Bonnet Hotel, at the corner of Water and Earl Garrett streets – but it’s in the photograph. Louise Hays Park is not very busy; I only see one automobile, and it’s parked near the dam. On a personal note, I think I can see my father’s car parked behind our print shop building, shown to the left of the old Rialto Theater. 
Outside of Kerrville, it was good to see the Hill Country Arts Foundation site as it appeared in 1972. So many worthy additions have been made there. I have happy memories of that place.
The old Camp Verde Store looks lonely at its crossroads site, without a single car out front.
Center Point and Ingram look busy, but each looks very different than they do today. Hunt looks quiet, with only a single car approaching the bridge.
The photos make me feel like I’m checking in on a very different time – removed, looking from above – and remembering, as best I can, the places in the images. Since the photos were taken at a time when I was a child, the photos bring back memories of being with my parents, riding in the car, or, on lucky occasions, sitting beside my mother as she flew an airplane.
Hill Country Arts Foundation
Until next week, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who collects Kerr County historical items. If you have anything you’d care to share with him, it would make him very happy. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times May 1, 2021.

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Schreiner Institute

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