Wednesday

Walk Through San Antonio of the 1850's

King William District, South town, San Antonio, TX

There are numerous interesting places to visit while in San Antonio, including the Alamo, the River Walk and the San Antonio Missions to name just a few. Last week we got together several from the RV park and toured another "must see" area of this beautiful city, the King William Historic District in the  South Town area of San Antonio.

Our Tour Guide
After meeting Gary, our tour guide from San Antonio Walks (888-368-6874), across from The Guenther House, we began the tour. Gary is highly versed in the different styles of architectural styles in the area, which includes Greek Revival, Victorian, Colonial and Italianate. He also has a wealth of knowledge about the history of San Antonio and during the tour, he told us several stories that enhanced out tour experience.  I was particularly impressed at how the home builders used a combination of the various architectural styles in each home. Another interesting  find was the personality that some individual home owners exhibited in their home styles.  There was even a home that looked like it came right out of South Beach, tropical trees and landscaping included.


Neighborhood History
This neighborhood of stately houses shaded by enormous trees is located just south of downtown along the San Antonio River. Many German immigrants began to settle in this area by the 1840s and it became known as "Sauerkraut Bend" to the rest of San Antonio. In 1967 the King William District was designated the first Historic Neighborhood District in Texas.

The District developed into an idyllic neighborhood of large, impressive houses shaded by enormous pecan and cypress trees. The main entry street into the area was given the name King Wilhelm in honor of King Wilhelm I, King of Prussia in the 1870s. During World War I, when America was at war with Germany, the name was changed to Pershing Avenue. A few years after the war was over the original name was restored, but this time it was given the English version of the name, King William, as it has remained since. 

Some Prominent King William Street Residents
The homes in the King William District were built by some of San Antonio's most prominent citizens. Karl Harnisch, who was in the confectionery business, brought the first soda fountain to San Antonio. The Edward Steves homestead is an elegant three-story mansion that was built in 1876.  Mr Steves was the founder of the Steves Lumber Company. The family still owns the oldest cabinet making company in the country. John J. Stevens, who brought the first Hereford cattle to Texas also built his home here.  The originator of the once famous Joske's Department Store of San Antonio was also a well known resident.  Today the home of Mr Charles Butt of the HEB family can be found in this elegant neighborhood.

 Another impressive feature of these homes is that many of them had the beautiful San Antonio River in their back yards.  As we walked along this seldom viewed River real estate, the views were some of the most extraordinary scenes.

Courtesy of the Guenther House website


We finished up our morning tour with lunch at the Guenther House,  the one time home of the historic Pioneer Flour Mill family.  They also had an interesting Museum and the River Mill Store and you could tour the home as well.






On your next visit to our San Antonio RV Park let us know you'd like to take this or any number of other walking tours available and we'll make a date to share the experience with other interested guests at the Park.  Check out our full photo album of our King William walking tour with Gary at  San Antonio Walks.
Photo Album
King William Historic District


Sources:
  1. San Antonio Conservation Society, http://www.saconservation.org/
  2. Visit San Antonio
  3. The Virtual Tourist
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Teri Blaschke is the RV Park operator of family owned HiddenValley RV Park in San Antonio, TX and writer of the park blog “A Little Piece of Country in San Antonio.” Teri contributes to various other blogs with a focus on either travel or social media and how it relates to the outdoor hospitality industry but her passion is serving the RV travel community by providing a memorable RV camping experience and growing the Hidden Valley RV family.  Connect with , Facebook and Twitter@HiddenValleyRV
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