King William Association

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About our association

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KING WILLIAM ASSOCIATION
FACT SHEET

Media Contact:
Rita Crosby (210) 227-8786


HISTORIC DESIGNATION: In 1967 the neighborhood became the first Historic District in Texas by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

MISSION: To preserve and maintain the diverse residential nature and historic character of the King William; to intercede on behalf of the neighborhood to civic entities when issues of concern arise; and to improve quality of life by building community, promoting cultural endeavors, and providing scholarships and growth opportunities for deserving recipients.

MEMBERSHIP: The King William Association (KWA), founded in 1967, currently has 450+ members, including neighborhood businesses and institutions. An individual membership is $10.00/year and a Family membership is $15.00/year. Membership is not mandatory. Members work with a 15-member board of directors to maintain community life, address urban neighborhood issues, communicate ideas to city officials, and provide information to residents and visitors.

QUALITY OF LIFE: The King William neighborhood is rich in history and cultural diversity. Neighbors represent all walks of life: small business owners, teachers, plumbers, architects, electricians and carpenters, doctors and lawyers. Within its boundaries lie a flourmill, a major corporate headquarters, art galleries, several non-profit institutions and a thriving commercial corridor. Living in an urban village, especially one of homes for which maintenance is a labor of love, tends to bring neighbors close together. As a long-time resident states "It is a neighborhood where a person is identified not by what he does, but by his house. After all, these houses were here when we came, and they'll be here when we leave".

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE (with thanks to the San Antonio Department of Historic Preservation) The King William area originally was farmland, irrigated by acequias flowing from the San Antonio River, owned by the 1718 Mission San Antonio de Valero. By the beginning of the 19th century, the missions were fully secularized and the land belonging to Mission Concepcion was bought, sold and divided into tracts by land speculators, beginning in the 1840s.
One of the earliest to settle was Carl Guenther, a German immigrant who built Pioneer Flour mill on the lower bend of the San Antonio River, now the southern anchor for the King William
neighborhood. A number of other successful and influential German immigrants discovered the area and began building mansions, using Greek Revival, Victorian, and Italianate architectural


styles. Ernst Altgelt, the first to build on current-day King William St., is credited with naming his street after King Wilhelm I of Prussia.

When neighborhoods to the north began drawing King William residents away in the 1920s, many of the grand mansions were turned into apartments and the district fell into decline. But in the 1960s, creative young professionals rediscovered King William and began a renaissance, which continues to this day. The district was expanded in 1984 to include a more eclectic neighborhood of cottages south of Alamo Street.

RESIDENTIAL The King William neighborhood consists of around 600 residential lots, of which about 70 have been converted to commercial use, such as Bed & Breakfasts, and professional, fraternal, and non-profit organizations. Homes west of S. Alamo St., are mostly large, Victorian architectural wonders. East of S. Alamo St, homes tend to be smaller cottages and bungalows, many of which have been in family hands for several generations. Between these two areas, the homes are a mixture of large and small. Visiting architects, historians, high school classes and sketchpad artists, frequents all three areas.

COMMERCIAL Due to concern over languishing downtown commercial corridors in the 1980's, KWA, along with businesses and corporations in the area, initiated the Southtown Project. Funded in part by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and directed through the Texas Historical Commission, the Southtown Urban Mainstreet Program is a sister organization to the KWA. Besides investing seed money for the startup, KWA provides board leadership and program assistance to help realize the goal of "creating a human scale urban village through historic preservation, good urban design, support of the arts and business development."

EDUCATION: King William is served by Brackenridge High School (a Communication Arts Magnet school); Page Middle School and Bonham Elementary School, all part of the San Antonio Independent School District.

COMMUNITY ACTION: The KWA is heavily committed to community service, focusing mainly on schoolchildren and their environment:

Brackenridge High School: Since 1986, the KWA has given $6,000 annually to four to six B.H.S. seniors to attend Alamo Community College District colleges. The Association also supports the school band's annual band camp, and the football team, whose members
volunteer at the King William Fair, receive new Athletic shoes. In 1990, KWA lobbied successfully with the S.A.S.D. to prevent splitting the neighborhood into two high schools, one to be located west of IH-10.
Bonham Elementary School: Projects supporting the 100-year-old Bonham have included providing a new playground, an annual all-school field trip to the San Antonio Children's Museum, and involvement in reading mentorship programs and the library. In
1997, KWA members served as design advisors, parent representatives, lobbyists and architects for the school's $1.4 million renovation and expansion.

Libraries: Page Middle School, Brackenridge High School and Burnet Elementary School have received $1,000 library materials grants.

Children's Shelter of San Antonio: Contributions to the emergency shelter have included financial donations, clothing, toys, games, supplies, parties and an annual Easter Egg Hunt in King William Park.

Say Si: San Antonio Youth Say Yes! A dynamic and prospering arts program for talented teenagers from urban high schools has received start-up funds and regular donations since its inception in 1993, totaling $30,000 to date. KWA members regularly provide board leadership and program support.

Clean-up/Fix-up/Paint-up/etc.: King William residents help maintain the District by joining forces with Adopt-a-River, "River Rats" and Basura Bash programs to clean its river corridor. The Garden Club, in cooperation with City Parks & Recreation, prunes and weeds the river's banks year round. Other KWA crews regularly paint out graffiti and monitor Code Compliance year round.

FUND-RAISERS AND FUN
King William Fair: Each spring the KWA presents the King William Fair, a family-oriented street fair held throughout the streets west of S. Alamo. A spoof-filled parade, from Brackenridge High to Madison, via Guenther and King William, kicks off a day of revelry: Arts and crafts vendors, food booths, children's activities and some of the city's liveliest music all vie for attention. The Fair also friends from around the city and state a chance to enjoy the architecture and ambiance of the King William neighborhood.

King William Holiday Home Tour: Held every year in early December, the Holiday Home Tour allows visitors to wander six private homes throughout the District. In 1998, the homes included the oldest surviving residence in King William; a home built in 1881 then tripled in size in 1900, a two-story 1895 mansion; two "modern" homes built in 1902 and 1906; and a former carriage house. Proceeds of the Tour are donated to community groups and schools.


LOCATION The King William Historic District is located just south of downtown San Antonio, about 2 miles from the Alamo, on the Mission Trails Corridor. Street boundaries are E. Durango, S. Flores, S. Alamo, Eagleland and S. Presa.

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