Winter 2013, Volume 49, No. 2 - San Antonio Conservation Society



Winter 2013, Volume 49, No. 2 - San Antonio Conservation Society
107 King William
San Antonio, TX 78204-1399
In this issue
Community Grants
President’s Message P.2
Executive Director’s Report P.3
NIOSA and Education Tours P.4
Briscoe Museum P.5
Kuest Haus Museum & P.6
Teacher Education Seminar
Paying It Forward P.7
Self Guided Tours & Foundation
Library Celebrates Anniversary
VOLUME 49, NO. 2
Photos courtesy of Ron Bauml.
Motto: “Shall I say, ‘Yes, I remember it,’ or ‘Here it is, I helped to save it’?”
519 Kelly
719 Mason
2012 Community Grants Recipients Announced
By Jody Williams
his year, the San Antonio Conservation
Society received a record 83 applications
for funding under its Community Grants
Program – 74 applications for building grants and
nine for educational purposes.
Needless to say, the selection of grantees was
difficult, with so many historically and architecturally
significant structures and worthwhile educational
projects being considered for a grant.
After lengthy deliberations, the Grants Committee
recommended that nine structures and three
educational projects receive grants. The Board of
Directors approved the committee’s recommendations,
and approximately $134,000 was awarded to the
following individuals and organizations:
1) M.E. Beall and Elizabeth Beall Erspamer, for
restoration of windows at the Schneider House at
312 Petersburg Street in Castroville, Texas. Built of
local limestone, the house was constructed for Anton
and Catherine Schneider in 1854, soon after they
immigrated to Texas from France.
2) Rusty and Madeline Guyer, for the restoration
of two chimneys at the dwelling at 120 King William
Street in the King William Historic District. This
vernacular-style house and an identical one next door
were built in 1868 - by stonemasons and brothers
Joseph and John Ball for their own families.
3) Lionel and Kathy Sosa, for the removal of
Portland cement from the exterior limestone walls
and the repointing of those walls at the house at 126
Lavaca in the Lavaca Historic District. The house
was built by Martin Meunsch in 1872 and in 1880
became the residence of Louis Briam, a prominent
businessman and civic leader in the 1800s in San
Antonio. The house remained in his family until 1947.
4) Steve and Alma Cross, owners of the Bullis
House Inn, for repair and stabilization of exterior
limestone walls, reconstruction of roof supports and
decking, and installation of a new standing seam roof
at the 1885 Schaezler House at 1204 East Grayson
Street in the Government Hill Historic District. This
Italianate-style structure, now owned by the Bullis
House Inn B & B, recently suffered severe damage
from a fire.
5) Sandra O’Banion, for replacement of the original
porch on the north side of the Ball-O’Banion House
at 14450 Old Frio City Road in Lytle, Texas. This
two-story, handmade brick farmhouse was erected
in 1898 by Joseph Ball, Jr. and remained in the Ball
family until 1943, when it was sold to Laworia and Elsie
Scoggin, grandparents of the current owner.
6) Luis O. Lascari, for roof replacement at 719
Mason Street in the Government Hill Historic District.
This charming Italianate cottage, constructed in 1898,
is currently the rectory for the church next-door Iglesia
Cristiana La Puerta al Cielo.
7) Susan Carlin and Ugur Kilic, for foundation
leveling of the structure at 330 Lamar Street in the
Dignowity Hill Historic District. Built between 1906 and
1912, this building served as the “Surman Red & White
Grocery Store” on the first floor, with living quarters
above, until the late 1980s. The current owner plans to
retain the store-like appearance of the building.
8) Richard & Jennifer Hussey, for front porch
restoration at 210 Callaghan Avenue in the Lavaca
Historic District. This dwelling was built in 1907 in an
unusual style, with classical columns on the front porch
and Mission Revival parapets on the roof.
9) Richard Hernandez, for roof replacement at the
board-and-batten house at 159 Kelly Drive in the San
José Mission area. This home was built in a vernacular
style, but with wood rather than caliche or limestone
which suggests the late 1800s or early 1900s as its
construction date. The cottage has been in the current
owner’s family since 1940 when it was purchased
for $200 by Epifanio G. Hernandez who then passed
it on to his son Alvino P. Hernandez, who passed it
Continued on page 5
Nancy Avellar President
From The President
It has been 34 years since the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park was
created to preserve, protect, restore and interpret four of the five Spanish Missions
of San Antonio, along with their historically associated areas.
he San Antonio Conservation Society,
which has played an instrumental role
in the protection of these missions since
our founding in 1924, was a strong proponent and
advocate of the creation of this National Park.
Mission San Antonio De Valero,
The Alamo
Mission San Juan Capistrano
Mission San Francisco
De La Espada
Mission Nuestra Señora De La
Purisima Concepcíon De Acuna
Mission San José Y San Miguel De
Aguayo, photos courtesy of Ron Bauml.
The Society’s advocacy for these colonial treasures
(including the Alamo) continues today, this time with our
support of the advancement of the San Antonio Franciscan
Missions towards nomination as a UNESCO World
Heritage Site.
The missions, located along the San Antonio River,
collectively represent the largest and most complete
surviving example of the Viceroyalty of New Spain’s colonial
mission system in the northern reaches of that empire.
The impressive Franciscan churches and conventos in this
serial nomination include Mision San Antonio de Valero (the
Alamo), Mision Nuestra Senora de la Purisima Concepcíon
de Acuna, Mision San José y San Miguel de Aguayo,
Mision San Juan Capistrano, and Mision San Francisco
de la Espada.
Established between 1718 and 1731, the Missions
eloquently demonstrate the Spanish Crown’s effort to
evangelize the indigenous population and convert them into
Roman Catholics and Spanish citizens. Most importantly, the
Missions’ 50 standing structures and archaeological remains,
which include housing, fortress-type perimeter walls, an
agricultural ranch, farms, convents and sophisticated irrigation
systems, illustrate the full extent of the crown’s political and
economic objectives of creating self-sustaining settlements
that would eventually develop into permanent secular
communities – which is exactly what happened in
San Antonio.
In 2006, then Society President Virginia Nicholas was
encouraged to nominate the five Missions to become a World
Heritage Site. She took up the gauntlet and formed a working
group, which remains the nucleus of the group involved in
the current nomination process. Organizations including Los
Compadres, the U.S. National Park Service, Bexar County,
the Catholic Archdiocese, the Daughters of the Republic of
Texas and, most recently, the General Land Office, have
since joined the effort, but the Society is proud of being the
catalyst for what we hope will be a successful nomination.
The World Heritage Committee is an arm of UNESCO,
the United Nations agency for the promotion of global peace
and security, culture, natural, social and human sciences,
education, communication and information. The United States
was a leader in establishing the World Heritage Convention,
which is a universal international legal instrument for the
preservation of natural and cultural heritage sites.
There are currently 962 World Heritage Sites in 150
countries, including 21 sites in the U.S. That number is
proportionally low compared to other countries. Among
noteworthy sites in the United States are Yellowstone
National Park, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the
Statue of Liberty, Monticello and the University of Virginia,
and Grand Canyon National Park. International monuments
include The Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of Egypt,
Versailles Palace and Stonehenge.
What all World Heritage sites have in common is their
outstanding universal values, whether they are masterpieces
of human creative genius or are areas of superlative natural
The San Antonio Missions possess, in abundance, the
qualities required for World Heritage status: 1) The Missions
promoted the important interchange of human values by
transforming the nomadic indigenous cultures of the region
into a series of permanent settlements of Spanish-speaking
residents loyal to the Spanish Crown and the Catholic
Church; 2) They stand as testimony to a thriving cultural
tradition that originally encompassed over 60 independent
bands of hunter-gatherers, Franciscan missionaries, Spanish
soldiers and others into a permanent community that still
thrives today; and 3) The current Missions retain outstanding
examples of buildings, architecture, acequia systems and
farmlands that still function after 260 years.
On June 1, 2012, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Kenneth
Salazar announced his support of the nomination and
authorized the preparation of an official nomination dossier
to present to the World Heritage Committee. The first draft is
due in 2013 and, if approved, the site will be inscribed as a
World Heritage Site by 2015.
In addition to the internationally recognized honor of
receiving World Heritage status, there are strong economic
benefits produced by increasing cultural tourism and related
business activity.
There are a number of serious challenges facing the
nomination. In 2011, the U.S. stopped payment of dues
to UNESCO after the United Nations admitted Palestine.
The withdrawal of U.S. dues, which represent 22% of
the UNESCO budget, has created a severe hardship for
UNESCO; however, there may be legislative relief which will
allow the United States to once again pay its dues. Recently,
a contingent from San Antonio, which included former Society
President Sally Buchanan, visited legislators on Capitol Hill
and representatives in the United States Department of State
to solicit their support for potential legislation which would
allow the U.S. to resume its obligations.
We are hopeful that legislative efforts will succeed and
that our outstanding San Antonio Missions will be proudly
inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 2015.<
Nancy Avellar
Commitment To Preservation
Outreach Expands
Jennifer A. Hay
new staff position at the
Conservation Society of
Preservation Outreach
Manager, recommended by the
Presidential Advisory Committee
and approved by the Board of
Directors in August, is now
a reality.
The Outreach Manager is
responsible for daily management of
outreach programs of the San Antonio
Conservation Society Foundation,
expanding and fostering the network
of preservation stakeholders in the
San Antonio area. The outreach
manager will organize and coordinate
responses from the general public as
well as maintain social media for the
main office, thus assisting the overall
effectiveness of our organization
and its visibility in the community.
Responding to management direction
and the Endowment and Resource
Development Committee, the
manager will organize and maintain
an annual plan for communicating with
members, prospective members and
non-members who support the foundation’s purpose and programs and may
contribute funds to sustain them. As
Barbara Johnson, Chairman of the
Presidential Advisory Committee,
said, “We are very pleased that a new
position is now in place to coordinate
our preservation outreach efforts.”
To find the right person to fill this
new and challenging position, it was
posted on two national preservation
organization job listings as well as in
the San Antonio Express-News and
a variety of Texas websites. Society
President Nancy Avellar and I inde-
pendently reviewed and ranked the 37
applications submitted. Of those, four
were selected for personal interviews.
At the conclusion of the interviews,
one candidate stood out among the
rest: Jenny A. Hay, a native of Luling,
Texas with historical family ties to that
community. As Nancy told the Board
of Directors when she announced the
selection, “We were delighted when
she accepted our offer.” Jenny is now
the San Antonio Conservation Society
Foundation Preservation Outreach
Manager, commencing January 2,
Jenny has strong background and
knowledge in historic preservation
and government relations, community
engagement and communications.
Holding a Bachelor’s Degree from
the University of Texas at Austin, she
went on to Texas State University-San
Marcos where her Master’s thesis
focused on a historic city-owned
building in downtown Austin. At
Louisiana State University, where
Jenny completed the requirements for
a PhD in the Department of Geography
& Anthropology, she continued her
personal and professional commitment
to issues of community and historic
preservation. Her dissertation topic is
“Resilience, social capital and recovery
in the historic built environment of
the Holy Cross Historic District, New
Orleans, Louisiana.” Holy Cross is part
of the Lower Ninth Ward, a historic
neighborhood in New Orleans filled
with cultural history and distinctive
local vernacular architecture.
While in Austin, she served as
environmental specialist and later
Program Manager for a consulting firm,
completing environmental reviews,
coordinating and implementing state
housing grants across Texas. At LSU,
she was a graduate assistant at the
Cartographic and Information Center,
serving faculty, businesses and the
general public. As a community
museum consultant in Ida, Louisiana,
she and a colleague designed,
inventoried and assembled the new
357th Fighter Group Museum. This
is a favorite project of hers, for good
reason. The Mayor of 250-citizen
Ida, Clyde “Smokie” Maddox, could
not have been more pleased with
the project that organized hundreds
of objects and created a museum in
the old Ida post office. Approximately
1,000 people attended the grand
opening funded by a grant she solicited
from the Louisiana Endowment for
the Humanities. When contacted for
a reference, the mayor called her the
“best lady in the world” for rescuing
the museum. Debbie Smith at the
National Center for Preservation
Technology, where she worked as an
intern and later under contract, praised
Jenny’s motivation, development of
their website and blog, plus the four
podcasts she completed for them on
her own initiative.
Jenny notes, “I look forward to
many successful endeavors working
with the members of the Society and
raising awareness about our wonderful
engagement with the community.”
Join us in welcoming Jenny Hay to
the San Antonio Conservation Society
Bruce MacDougal Executive Director
Bruce MacDougal
Executive Director
Preservation Advocate
The Advocate is published
four times annually by the
San Antonio Conservation
Society. Send letters, article(s)
or comments to publications
107 King William Street
San Antonio Texas 78204-1399
Phone: 210-224-6163
Fax: 210-224-6168
The purpose for which the
San Antonio Conservation
Society was formed is to preserve
and encourage the preservation of
historic buildings, objects, places
and customs relating to the history
of Texas, its natural beauty and
all that is admirable and distinctive
to our State; and by such physical
and cultural preservation to keep
the history of Texas legible and
intact to educate the public,
especially the youth of today and
tomorrow with knowledge of our
inherited regional values.
Publications Committee
Stella Tenorio-De La Garza,
Editor/Committee Chairman
Tertia Emerson
Pat Ezell
Mary Fisher
Carolyn Frost
Georgia Henley-Grubb
Dorothy Schulze
Larry Segesman
Linda Segesman
Janie Thomas
Virginia Van Cleave
Patti Zaiontz
Staff Person: Tammy Bishop
“For us, it’s NIOSA 365 days a year”
By Kathy DeWaal
Your NIOSA team is at it again and has been
moving strong since NIOSA 2012 closed its gates!
We are always excited about NIOSA but are
especially enthused about the upcoming NIOSA
2013 because the Conservation Society will be
celebrating its 65th “A Night In Old San Antonio.”
NIOSA is a year-round project. I’m happy to
have my three vice chairmen (Charlie Hansen,
Loraine Zaiontz and Melissa Fertitta) and treasurer
Barbara Machado (all of whom are volunteers)
returning to assist me with this operation. They
are amazing and I could not do it without them.
We also have a team of 5 staging coordinators,
15 area chairmen, 250 booth chairmen and 25
service & support committees, all of whom are
also remarkable volunteers of the Conservation
Society, along with our year round NIOSA staff.
This operation consists of many multiple steps.
This this past summer we met with all our area
chairmen to review each individual booth report
along with their requisitions that include every
piece of equipment required to stage their area for
the following year. We also met with our suppliers,
reviewed food orders by booth, and met with
SAPD, city health department, fire department,
downtown operations, traffic control and the Texas
Alcohol and Beverage Commission (TABC). In
between meetings, we are ordering tickets and
cups, contracting entertainment and golf carts,
and preparing detailed maps with booth placement
and electrical/generator needs. This is just the tip
of the iceberg of the tall list of responsibilities.
The 2013 NIOSA pin design is complete and
I am certain we have another winner! I’m also
excited about our poster; the poster artist (whom
I’ll keep nameless until the poster unveiling) has
done a wonderful job. The design and the colors
are wonderfully vibrant--the way NIOSA is!
It is not just our office that is going strong and
preparing for next year. At the River House we
have two very busy committees, our cascaron and
decoration committee, which usually meet every
Thursday from September through May. These
volunteers are so dedicated and committed to
NIOSA that they work through the summer! They
hand-paint the traditional cascarones and make
more than 12,000 brightly colored hand-made
paper flowers that boost our festive atmosphere.
No job is too small, but by banding together,
our volunteers form the core of our event. We
take pride in what the San Antonio Conservation
Society accomplishes in our community due to our
involvement and hard work.
Preserving…yesterday, today and tomorrow. It’s
truly A Celebration for Preservation!<
Viva NIOSA!!!
Heritage Education Tours
By Laura Butterfield
Tuesday, November 13, was a chilly, breezy,
gray day. The jittery mood of the fourth grade
students at Cable Elementary School in Northside
ISD provided a stunning contrast to the weather.
As the sleek touring coaches parked in the
school’s lot, word on campus was buzzing
that those fourth graders must be pretty darn
special…and they are! Finally, the San Antonio
Conservation Society sponsored field trip was
about to begin and the school’s “Cable Cubs”
were about to travel into the past. The group,
with whom I had the privilege to spend the
morning first visited the José Antonio Navarro
House Complex. Our guides described to
the children the role played by José Navarro
in shaping the political future and destiny of
Texas. I was struck by the parallel intent of the
Conservation Society: our historic tour would
shape San Antonio school children, instilling
historic pride through exposure to their past and
direction towards their futures. In the courtyard
behind the Casa Navarro State Historic Site,
manager Maureen “Mo” enlivened the students’
day with ”cuentos” (tales) of José’s wife, Margarita
de la Garza Navarro, the Navarro family business
and political strides. Despite the blustery weather,
Ms. Brown engaged the students in examining
primary artifacts (a key skill for the fourth grade
historian). The home and associated buildings
sparkled, giving evidence of painstaking
restoration, and the Cable Cubs tried out the
metate and children’s games. Equally engrossing
was the example of “past meets technology” in
the iPad swipe map of the geographic borders
set in historic progression. The opportunity to
trace over the signatures of historic Texas figures
with the tech-sensitive electronic stylus was
also another time travel delight for children. We
thanked our hosts, Ms. Brown and Rob Abodeely,
a customer service specialist with Texas Historical
Commission as we walked past the colorful mural
created by renowned San Antonio artists Jesse
Trevino and Elizabeth Rodriguez, and embarked
for the Steves Homestead.
Impressed with the size and beauty of the
facade of the Steves Homestead is a huge understatement for my students’ initial and continuous
reaction to the stately site. We entered the parlor
where their heads turned and turned and craned
to take in all of the visual delights. Fortunately,
our guide was good-humored and engaging, and
soon had the students both answering and asking
questions. In the dining room, my colleague
Regina Torrez and I almost had a conniption fit
when our docent announced that the Cubs were
being invited to help set Mrs. Steves’ dining table!
Yikes! We were wondering about all of those
young, wiggly, super-active fingers handling Mrs.
Steves’ heirlooms? Thankfully, there was no need
to call 911. The children were carefully instructed,
performed very well, and…the dishes were not
primary artifacts. Rather they were great and
almost indestructible imitations of the heirloom
variety. (Please don’t tell the children!) After visits
upstairs we proceeded outside to the gazebo
where we explored architectural examples. Our
Mrs. Mill’s Fourth grade class, Cable Elementary.
Chaperones are Mr. Gage and Mrs. Torres.
Brianna Arroyo, 4th grader from Cable
Elementary, photos courtesy of Laura Butterfield.
tour was capped off with ginger molasses crinkle
cookies and many smiles. A big hearty Texas
thank you for making this possible for my students
and the students of San Antonio!<
Continued from page 1.
on to his son Richard Hernandez
and daughter Hope Hernandez.
In addition to building grants,
the Society also awarded three
educational grants to one individual
and two public entities, as follows:
1) Patrick H. Butler, III, for the
development of an oral history
program to gather information from
individuals involved in historic presFirst floor interior of Briscoe Museum
“What was old is new again restored Hertzberg Museum becomes
Briscoe Museum of Western Art
hat was old is new again.” The
Indiana limestone building located
at 210 West Market Street was
designed by local architect Herbert S. Green
in the late 1920s.
to the recent past, as research for
a book about the history of historic
preservation in Texas.
2) City of San Antonio, Office of
the City Clerk, Municipal Archives
By Dorothy O. Schulze
ervation in Texas from the 1960s
& Records, for a project designed
original paint colors that have been replicated
and are being used throughout the building.
Vermont green marble like the original
baseboards has replaced broken or missing
pieces in the building’s grand lobby. Art deco
to make documents from the
City Engineers and Surveyors’
Collections easily accessible. This
project will include physical pres-
Since then it has seen many reincarnations:
light sconces are repaired and returned to
ervation of over 1,000 field survey
the Hertzberg Circus Museum, and an
that ascends to the third floor gallery has been
indexed, the collection will be made
Its latest reincarnation is that of the Briscoe
Karr, “fine wrought-iron banisters with oak
In 2006, the National Western Art Foundation
leather treads,” will be featured in the newly
publication of essays exploring
Museum. Plans grew and designs changed
large third-floor gallery and the oak floors of
region between San Antonio and
a three-staged approach for transforming
to their former beauty. The library reading
exterior of the building; second, construction
has been painstakingly revived with careful
temporary exhibit space and event rental
bookcases, plaster crown moldings and fluted
restoration of the building’s interior.
and restoration, the building’s original metal
part of this ambitious project has been the
thoughtfully restored building will be a fitting
and Clint Nieto of Restoration Associates
and more evidence of San Antonio’s continued
the San Antonio Central Library, library annex,
their former brilliance. The grand staircase
abandoned, deteriorating storage facility.
returned to its former glory. According to Dr.
Museum of Western Art, set to open in 2013.
railings, polished brass overlays and buffalo
secured a lease of the abandoned Hertzberg
restored building.” The terrazzo floor of this
many times before the foundation settled on
flanking twin galleries have been returned
their idea into a reality: first, restoration of the
room occupies the upper floor as well. It also
of an adjoining pavilion to provide classrooms,
attention paid to its original tiled fireplace, oak
facilities; and last, but not least, complete
columns. Throughout the extensive repairs
Perhaps the most challenging, meticulous
casement windows have been preserved. This
interior’s restoration. Conservators Elisa Jary
venue for The Briscoe Museum of Western Art
directed the six-month-long rehabilitation of the
commitment to conservation.<
spring of 2012. Elaborate cast plaster ceilings
Information from Dr. Steven Karr, Briscoe
Museum Director, via telephone and email
interviews. Photos provided by the Briscoe
Museum of Western Art.
grand lobby and galleries, completed in the
in the Hertzberg Museum were repaired and
restored. Chemical processes revealed the
books, along with a finding aid. Once
available to the public.
3) UTSA Mexico Center for the
the unique cultural heritage of the
Monterrey, Mexico, including architecture, traditions, culture, space and
Kuest Haus Museum
By Larry Segesman
As far back as 1867, the Beethoven Maennerchor (men’s choral group)
has kept alive German music, culture and traditions in San Antonio and
Texas. Over the years, other Beethoven groups-Damenchor (women’s choir),
Kinderchor (children’s choir), Germania Chor (mixed choir), Concert Band and
Dance Band--have added their voices and talents. The Beethoven Halle and
Garten at 422 Pereida has long been a gathering place for concerts, feasts,
Kristkindlmarkt and, more recently, First Friday events. The Maennerchor has
been one of the highlights of the San Antonio Conservation Society’s annual
Christmas party at the Steves Homestead. Beethoven Maennerchor, Inc. will
soon offer another opportunity to learn about and appreciate the history of
German music and culture in our area.
Next door to the Halle and Garten, an 1890s building in the Queen Anne
architectural style will soon become the Kuest Haus Museum and special
event facility that will display and further celebrate the rich traditions brought
Kuest Haus, photo courtesy of Larry Segesman.
to our city by German immigrants and descendants. The building, now known
resenting German traditions, music and culture, and will house a library
as the Kuest Haus, was gifted to the Beethoven Maennerchor by Albert and
and reading room. Restoration and renovation of the building’s interior is
Veronika Kuest and their daughters Juliana and Kristina. It is currently being
underway, revealing exceptional craftsmanship in both the original construc-
used as a rehearsal site for the organization’s singing groups and a German
tion and tasteful renovations. During a recent interview, Mrs. Kuest projected
language school. When the museum opens, it will display artifacts rep-
an opening date of Fall 2013.<
Teacher Education Seminar
By Carolyn Frost
The San Antonio Conservation Society sponsors an annual education
incredible stories of early Texas Tejano heroes such as José Antonio
Texas legible and intact to educate the public, especially the youth of
includes a trolley ride to downtown San Antonio and a visit to the newly
seminar for teachers to fulfill its purpose of keeping “…the history of
today and tomorrow with knowledge of our inherited regional values.”
Just like the annual Heritage
Navarro and José Francisco Ruiz. The second portion of the day
refurbished Casa Navarro Historic Site where attendees will participate
in an “Amazing Race Educator
Education Tours for children,
Challenge.” The workshop will
this annual seminar is financially
provide curriculum instruction for
supported from proceeds from
“A Night In Old San
teachers at all grade levels and
content areas, including teachers
(NIOSA®). The next time you
of gifted and talented, although the
purchase María’s Tortillas or an
content of the seminar is targeted
anticucho at NIOSA, remember
to 4th and 7th grade Social Studies
that you are helping to fund this
Texas Essential Knowledge and
educational seminar so that local
Skills (TEKS). At the conclusion of
educators can learn more about the
the seminar, participants will receive
history of San Antonio and share
six hours of professional continuing
that knowledge with their students.
education credit (CEUs).
This year’s seminar, presented
by Bill Perryman, will be held on
Saturday, February 16, 2013 from
Current teachers from local
José Antonio Navarro House, photo courtesy of Ron Bauml.
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The theme is “Tejano Heroes – Texas History in Old
to attend this interactive educational seminar at no charge, but advance
William Street, where unit activities are demonstrated relating to the
included. Contact Tammy Bishop at (210) 224-6163 to register.<
San Antonio.” Participants begin the day at the River House, 509 King
school districts, private schools,
and the surrounding area are invited
registration is required. A free light breakfast and a boxed lunch are also
Paying it Forward
By Ken Erfurth
In November of 1966, students from Charles
heritage, reminding them that just as they want
C. Ball Elementary School were on a bus tour
to take care of their own homes and belongings,
through downtown. The children were filled with
these historic buildings need us to take care of
excitement, for the trip got them out of the school
them as well. This is an important concept for
for a time and away from their normal classroom
them to grasp, as these places are still here due
studies. Driving through downtown, the guide
to the efforts of many people over generations
on the bus pointed out and described some of
now passed into history. If we don’t continue the
the older buildings and parks and their place in
process of preservation, this history will indeed
San Antonio history. A short time after leaving
be only available in books and its ability to be
downtown, they arrived at a place that none of
them could have imagined existed, a very old
house filled with many interesting, but foreign
items within its six rooms. Thankfully there were
people in the house who told the story of those
that had lived there and could explain the use of
the items. Outside, the students walked through
a small garden toward a partially reconstructed
mill. Along the way, they heard a tale concerning
an apparition of a lady in white that had appeared
to the home’s owner. On the way back toward
their school, the route took them down a road
past Missions and San José. As they passed a
golf course that was bisected by the San Antonio
River, the tour guide told the students that this
was where Teddy Roosevelt’s Roughriders had
drilled and camped. To this day, one child that
was on that tour still remembers the stories and
landmarks the guide pointed out on the trip.
Readers of the brief account above may have
already surmised that the students visited the
Yturri-Edmunds Homestead and that the bus
tour was one of many Heritage Education Tours
that the Conservation Society has sponsored
over the years. Every November, thousands
of San Antonio schoolchildren are treated to
adventures such as these, and for some, the
experience will stay with them for a long time. I
know this, because I was one of the students on
that bus some 45 years ago, and those are my
memories of that trip. Although it made a lasting
impression on me, little did I know back then that
those enduring memories would drive me in turn
to become a volunteer guide for the Society’s
Heritage Education Tour program, allowing me
Ken Erfurth with students on tour at the Steves
Homestead, photo courtesy of Stella De La Garza.
to relive those memories and see equivalent
reactions through the eyes and excitement of
today’s modern day students.
This past fall marked my fifth year in the
program and I firmly believe that the Conservation
Society’s motto “Shall I say, ‘Yes, I remember
it,’ or ‘Here it is, I helped to save it?” is literally
manifested through the Heritage Education Tours.
Last November, 1,917 students from 14
schools had the opportunity to learn about San
Antonio’s history and the people who helped
make it. Fifty buses were utilized over a two
week period, with each bus allowing the students
to visit two historic sites. Among the locations
visited were the Alamo, the Spanish Governors
Palace, Casa Navarro, the Steves Homestead,
Ft. Sam Houston and Mission San José. At each
location, the students were treated to a presentation and a tour of the site. Some sites included
interactive activities for the children; others
involved docents in period garb or uniforms. Each
stop was intended to give the youngsters a better
understanding of what it might be like to be a part
of that place and time.
While traveling to the assigned sites, the “on
bus” guides have an opportunity to set the stage
for the children by providing background history
and context to what they will be seeing during
each stop. Some guides also use the time to tell
stories or direct the student’s attention toward
passing points of interest. I like to also speak
about the role that the Conservation Society has
played in preserving valuable parts of the city’s
experienced will be diminished.
We all came to a commitment to historic preservation in different ways. Maybe it was ingrained
within the family, maybe it came from the
involvement of a friend or relative, perhaps it was
manifested in the neighborhood of your youth, or
the appreciation of a particular building or place.
Maybe it was the loss or alteration of a landmark
that you always thought would be around.
You can make a difference in a child’s life by
awakening in them the realization that history is
not something in a textbook or merely a subject of
classwork in the school day. It is truly all around
them in San Antonio. It can, and is, a living,
evolving process. It can be a learning exercise
that is fun as well, especially in our genuinely
historic city. Best of all, they can still experience it
firsthand through our efforts.
Helping a child relate better to our history
is a rewarding experience. I can attest to that.
Additional SACS members are always welcome,
and you can assist in continuing this successful
program. Maybe you will also plant a seed that
will sprout another generation of preservationists.
Sign up to be a part of the next series of San
Antonio Conservation Society Heritage Education
Tours and help.<
“ Shall I say, ‘Yes, I
remember it,’ or ‘Here it is,
I helped to save it’? ”
Foundation Library Celebrates Anniversary
By Beth Standifird
As the Conservation Society Foundation
volunteers, left a remarkable legacy, ideally
Library celebrates its 40th anniversary, it has
suited to the Society’s research needs. Thanks to
come a long way from its humble origins amid
their efforts, the library also built a reputation as
shoeboxes and crate shelves on the bottom floor
a treasure trove of information among university
of the original Conservation Society office at 511
students, property owners and preservation pro-
La Villita to its current location on the third floor
fessionals. User demand necessitated the hiring
of the Wulff House.
of a full-time, professional librarian to supplement
Alice Johnson, a retired Alamo Heights
the volunteer effort in 2001.
school librarian, organized the first collection
In the last ten years, the library’s rate of use
of books and newspaper clippings for Society
has increased by nearly 50%. Although space
members’ use in January 1973. Other retired
constraints limit collection growth, the library’s
librarians, Marianna Jones, Eva Milstead, Dolly
information services are evolving in exciting
manages the content of the Society’s new
Ports and Barbara Santella, aided in creating a
new directions. The library plays a more active
website. What lies ahead? We’re planning to
resource that would help the Society preserve
role in analyzing and packaging information
make more finding aids and collection content
knowledge of our regional history and educate
that the Society needs to fulfill its mission,
available online throughout the coming year.
the public about our shared cultural heritage.
including fighting the loss of historic sites and
Many thanks to all library volunteers, past
These women, assisted by numerous dedicated
street names. The librarian also now directly
and present!<
Upcoming Events
Steves Self-Guided Tours
By Bruce MacDougal
4 February 27 - Wednesday
SACS General Membership
Meeting, 5:30 p.m.
River House; 5:30 pm
4 March 22 - Friday
SACS 2013 Publication Awards
The Argyle
Call the Society Office at
224-6163 for more information
4 April 23-26
65th Presentation: A Night
In Old San Antonio®
In the early fall of
2012, Quintanilla Schmidt
Consulting was hired to
develop an interpretive
plan for the Steves
Museum with an emphasis
on engaging a cross-generational audience, and in
particular in cultivating the
interests of young adults
and families. One of the products of this work is
the use of mobile technology in providing tours.
A self-guided tour was first introduced and tested
during the King William Home Tour on December
1, 2012. This tour enables guests to view the
interior of the house at their own pace and have
access to information and historic photographs
through use of their smart phones. According to
consultant Mimi Quintanilla the most favorite topics
so far are the Formal Parlor and Who and What
are Missing from the Story. Try them out yourself
by accessing the QR codes on this page.
A second self-guided tour of the grounds,
including details about the exterior of the house,
outbuildings and grounds was subsequently
developed. These self-guided tours do not replace
docent-given tours, which are still given when
volunteers and staff are available. As a result
of this effort, a major benefit has already been
realized. Visitation has increased dramatically
and visitors do not have to wait until the next
scheduled tour.<