King William Historic District

The National Register of Historic Places-listed King William Historic District is generally located between the San Antonio River, Cesar Chavez Boulevard, South St. Mary’s Street, and South Alamo Street. The King William Local Historic District and neighborhood also includes the National Register of Historic Places-listed South Alamo Street-South St. Mary’s Street Historic District located west of South Alamo Street. Most of the houses within the district were built between 1850 and 1899, and in comparison to most of those located south of South Alamo Street, the houses are larger, more ornate, and are situated on larger lots (Bell and Williamson 1971).

This area of San Antonio was originally part of agricultural lands that belonged to Mission Valero (the Alamo) and remained a largely agricultural area until landowners began selling off the highly desirable land to developers Thomas Devine and Newton Mitchell during the 1840s. The developers then subdivided the land into lots and resold it over time (Bell and Williamson 1971; Taylor and Taylor n.d.).

The neighborhood was first platted and streets were laid out between 1853 and 1859 including King William Street, which is said to have been named after Wilhelm I, King of Prussia. One of the first residents of the neighborhood was Carl Guenther, a German miller, who established his home and mill in the south end of the area in 1859. Over time, several additions were built onto the original Guenther House which can be seen from the Mission Trails hike-and-bike trail corridor. Other prosperous German immigrants, many of whom had come to Texas during the 1840s, later followed suit and built homes in the neighborhood. Growth was slow during the late 1850s and 1860s, and most of the homes that were built during this time were located in the northwest portion of the neighborhood. The majority of these early homes were small, one-story raised cottages or caliche block houses (Bell and Williamson 1971).

Devine subdivided the remaining part of his riverfront property in 1865, after which date more German immigrants purchased lots and built homes in the neighborhood near the San Antonio River. The majority of development occurred during the 1870s and 1880s and continued generally southward along King William Street. In contrast to the earliest homes built in the King William District, these houses were much grander in size and ornamentation and were designed specifically for the homeowner by builders and architects including Alfred Giles and James Riley Gordon. These later structures feature various types of building construction and several popular architectural styles of the time period, a few of which can be seen from the Mission Trails hike-and-bike trail corridor (Bell and Williamson 1971).

The Steves Homestead (1876) is a two-story, smooth finished limestone home of Second Empire design and features a mansard roof, which is a hallmark of the style. The house is currently open to the public as a house museum. The Harnish House (1884) and the Schuchard House (1892) are two-story, brick homes that share characteristics of the Queen Anne style including an asymmetrical plan, broad porches, and intricate wood scrollwork.

The Biesenbach House (1881) and the Adolph Wagner House (1885) are one-story cottages with full length porches though with different architectural style influences. The diagonal porch support braces at the Biesenbach House are characteristic of the Victorian Stick style while the simply ornamented Doric columns and central pediment above the main entry at the Wagner House reflect the Classical Revival style. Other architectural style types from this time period that are easily visible from the trail include Colonial Revival and Italianate. A prominent example of the latter style is the Norton-Polk-Mathis House, also known as Villa Finale. This house currently operates as a house museum and is open to the public (San Antonio Conservation Society n.d.).

The east side of Madison Street, South Alamo Street, and sections of King William Street contain homes constructed in the 1890s and early 1900s after the neighborhood’s boom period. Houses within these areas vary in architectural style and include grand two-story Queen Anne style mansions and imposing Richardsonian Romanesque homes built of solid stone with prominent turrets. This area also contains smaller houses built after the turn of the century including one-story bungalows with Craftsman influences such as low roof lines, inset porches, and handcrafted woodwork (Bell and Williamson 1971).

As with other nearby neighborhoods, the availability of new utilities and transportation resulted in a demographic shift within the neighborhood starting in the 1920s. The new generations of the close‐knit German community were able to afford to live in the more affluent suburbs outside the city core and commute to work. Most of the neighborhood was developed by that time, and only a few vacant lots remained. As a result, development of the neighborhood slowed and some of the original houses were subdivided for multiple tenants or families. Recognizing the unique historic and architectural history of the area, the King William Association formed in 1967 to preserve the neighborhood, and soon afterward the neighborhood became the first National Register of Historic Places-listed historic district in the state (Bell and Williamson 1971; Taylor and Taylor n.d.).

For more information on the King William Historic District see the City of San Antonio’s website and the National Park Service’s website. The King William Neighborhood Association also has information about the district on their website as does the King William Cultural Arts District, which includes both the neighborhood and adjacent industrial and commercial resources in the area. Finally, see the San Antonio Conservation Society’s guided walking tour brochure.

For more information about the Steves Homestead and touring the house museum, see the San Antonio Conservation Society Website. The Villa Finale Museum and Gardens also maintains a website including details about the museum and tour availability. The table below provides an inventory of all contributing resources within the National Register of Historic Places-listed district inventoried by address.

Sources

  • Bell, Wayne and Roxanne Williamson (Texas State Historical Survey Committee)

    1971 - National Register of Historic Places Inventory – Nomination Form, “King William Historic District,” Copy on file at the Texas Historical Commission, Austin, Texas.

  • Burkholder, Mary V.

    2013 - “Anton Wulff House,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/ handbook/online/articles/cca04), accessed June 27, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

  • Eickenroht, Marvin (AIA)

    1964 - Historic American Buildings Survey Documentation, “Ball House, 120 King William Street, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas (HABS No. TEX-3151),” Prepared by Committee on Preservation of Historic Buildings for submittal to the National Park Service, Western Office.

  • Fisher, Lewis F.

    1996 - Saving San Antonio: The Precarious Preservation of a Heritage. San Antonio Conservation Society, San Antonio, Texas.

  • Gideon, Margaret Guenther

    2013 - “Groos, Gustav,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/ online/articles/fgr89), accessed June 27, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

  • King William Association

    n.d. - “The Albert Carl Moye House,” http://www.kingwilliamassociation.org/ kwa/index.php/articles-2/architectural-history/59-the-albert-carl-moye-house (Accessed June 27, 2013).

    n.d. - “The McDaniel House and the Bonn-Avon School,” http://kingwilliamassociation.org/ kwa/index.php/articles-2/architectural-history/70-the-mcdaniel-house-and-the-bonn-avon-school (Accessed June 27, 2013).

    n.d. - “The Twelve Mathis Houses: Margaret Leeds’ House,” http://www.kingwilliamassociation.org/kwa/index.php/articles-2/architectural-history/56-the-twelve-mathis-houses-margaret-leeds-house (Accessed June 27, 2013).

  • San Antonio Conservation Society

    n.d. - “Anton Wulff House, King William District,” San Antonio Conservation Society Website, http://www.saconservation.org/OurHistory/PropertiesPurchased/SocietyProperties/tabid/153/ArticleID/27/ArtMID/526/Anton-Wulff-House.aspx (Accessed June 27, 2013).

    n.d. - “Edward Steves Homestead,” San Antonio Conservation Society Website, http://www.saconservation.org/EducationTours/HistoricalTours/tabid/130/ArticleID/59/ArtMID/560/Edward-Steves-Homestead.aspx (Accessed June 27, 2013).

  • Taylor, Diane G. and Lonn W. Taylor

    n.d. - “The King William Neighborhood: A History,” in the Pioneer Flour Mills Local Landmark File, Copy on file at the City of San Antonio Historic Preservation Office.

Contributing Features within the King William Historic District

East Arsenal Street

Resource Name Address Architect Year Built Visible from Trail (Y/N) Open to Public (Y/N)
Crawford House 400 Unknown Unknown No No

City Street

Resource Name Address Architect Year Built Visible from Trail (Y/N) Open to Public (Y/N)
J.P. Withers House 103 Unknown Unknown No No
Leopold Guergin House 108 Unknown Unknown Yes Yes
E.W. Hensinger House 113 Unknown Unknown No No
Unknown 218 Unknown Unknown Yes No
Unknown 226 Unknown Unknown Yes No

East Guenther Street

Resource Name Address Architect Year Built Visible from Trail (Y/N) Open to Public (Y/N)
Adolph Wagner House 219 Unknown 1885 Yes No
Hermann Schuchard House #1 221 Unknown Ca. 1890 Yes No
Beckman House 222 Unknown 1886 No Yes (Bed and Breakfast)

East Johnson Street

Resource Name Address Architect Year Built Visible from Trail (Y/N) Open to Public (Y/N)
Goetze House 306 Unknown Unknown No No

King William Street

Resource Name Address Architect Year Built Visible from Trail (Y/N) Open to Public (Y/N)
King William Park and Bandstand 131 Unknown 1892 (moved to current location in 1953) No Yes
Anton Frederick Wulff House 107 Unknown 1869/1870 No Yes (San Antonio Conservation Society Headquarters)
Bloudin House 112 Unknown 1905 No No
Joseph Ball House 116 Unknown (possibly John Ball and/or John Kampmann) Ca. 1870 No No
John Ball House 120 Unknown (possibly John Ball and/or John Kampmann) Ca. 1870 No No
Flannery House #2 138 Unknown Unknown No No
Malvina Nelson House 202 Unknown Unknown No No
Aaron Pancoast Sr. House 203 Unknown 1896/1972 No No
Luis Bergstrom House 208 Unknown 1882–83/1900 No No
Luis Bergstrom Cottage 210 Unknown 1910 No No
Alex Sartor House and Dependency 217 Alfred Giles 1881 No No
Cabrera House 221 Unknown Unknown No No
Cook/Keating House 222 Unknown Unknown No No
Robert Hanschke House 225 Unknown 1880 No No
Altgelt/Schleuing/ Isbell House 226 Unknown 1878 No No
Altgelt House #1 236 Unknown 1866 No No
William Sanger House 242 Unknown 1905–06 No No
Joske House 241 Unknown Ca. 1900 No Yes
Winerich House 302 Unknown Unknown No No
James Stevens House 303 Unknown 1881 No No
Giles/Diaz House 306 Alfred Giles 1883 No No
Alfred Giles House 308 Alfred Giles 1883 No No
Charles F.A. Hummel House 309 Unknown 1884 No No
Max L. Oppenheimer House 316 Unknown 1900 No No
Adolph Heusinger House 317 Unknown 1883–85 No No
Duderstadt House 321 Unknown Unknown No No
Unknown 325 Unknown 1919 No No
Henry and Jennie Boerner House 326 Unknown 1915 Yes No
Johanna Kalteyer House 332 Unknown 1907 No No
Carl Wilhelm August Groos House 335 Alfred Giles 1880 No No
Norton-Polk-Mathis-House (Villa Finale) 401 Unknown 1876 Yes Yes (House Museum)
Josiah Pancoast House 404 Unknown 1878/1886 No No
Josiah Pancoast Cottage 410 Unknown 1900 No No
Elias Edmonds House 419 Unknown 1875 Yes No
Ike West House 422 Unknown 1887/1888 No No
George Kalteyer House 425 James Riely Gordon 1892 Yes No
Carrie Steves House 431 Unknown Unknown Yes No
J.M. Nix House #1 432 Unknown 1900 No No
Albert Steves House 504 Unknown 1883 No No
Edward Steves Homestead 509 Alfred Giles 1876 Yes Yes (House Museum)
Schuchard House #2 516 Unknown Unknown No No
Carl Harnisch House 523 Unknown 1884 Yes No
Albert Carl Moye House 524 Unknown Ca. 1881 No No
Biesenbach House 528 Unknown 1881 Yes No

Madison Street

Resource Name Address Architect Year Built Visible from Trail (Y/N) Open to Public (Y/N)
Jary House 103 Unknown Unknown No No
A.H. Halff House #2 105 Unknown Unknown No No
Jackson House #1 107 Unknown 1894 No Yes (Bed and Breakfast)
McDaniel House 117 Unknown Ca. 1890 No No
Henyan House 202 Unknown Unknown No No
Schuwirth House 203 Unknown Unknown No No
Greabner/Giles House 209 Unknown Unknown No No
Peltzer House 221 Unknown Unknown No No
Witte/Garza House 222 Unknown Unknown No No
Glaeser House #1 233 Unknown Unknown No No
Unknown 315 Unknown Unknown No No
Van Derlip House #1 337 Unknown Unknown No No
Chabot House 403 Unknown 1876 No No
G.M. Froebal House 521 Unknown Unknown No No

Washington Street

Resource Name Address Architect Year Built Visible from Trail (Y/N) Open to Public (Y/N)
Newton Mitchell (Oge) House 209 Unknown/Alfred Giles 1857/1882 Yes Yes (Bed and Breakfast)
Blersch/Watson House 213 Unknown 1859 Yes No
Gieseche House 218 Unknown Unknown No No
Gustav Groos House 231 Unknown 1875 Yes No

King William Historic District Map

King William District Map
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