Saturday, December 20, 2008

Alfred Giles "Re-visited"

A question answered: In the December 18th entry, I wondered what Frederick's (TX) Lone Star Boutique was originally. Nila read the entry and left this information: The building used to be The White Elephant Saloon, c. 1888: "part of a chain of Gentleman's Resorts."

I am very grateful for her taking time to fill in my information gap.


Continuing yesterday's walking tour of Kerrville, we passed the Weston Building, built in 1890. From that date until 1922 it was the Barlemann Saloon and today is Francisco's Restaurant.

As soon as we see the marqee of an old theater, we both announce: "I'll take this photo." I think every town should have a theater that provides a stage for anyone from the professional entertainer to the child who plays the accordion for the family.

The Arcadia Theater's stage welcomed performers from bluegrass legend Jimmy Rodgers to Agnes Colley who played the piano during the picture shows.

The Arcadia is currently undergoing restoration. Wonderful news.

The distinctive artwork on the facade of Pampell's caught our attention. Built c. 1895, the original building housed the two story St. Gregory Hotel. J.J. Pampell re-built the building in 1901 as the site for his drug store, ice cream parlor, candy store, and Opera House. For the past four years, it has been a bar and soda fountain.

The centerpiece of the historic district is the former home of Capt. Charles Schreiner, built in 1879 by expert masons and stone carvers brought in from Germany to do the intricate work on the exterior. This "palace," now home of the Hill Country Museum, seems out of place today in the center of the business district. (The former Schreiner department store that had been in business from 1869 until a few years ago is next to this former residence. The Schreiner Hospital was a couple blocks away, and Schreiner University is on the outskirts of town.)

The Guthrie Building (1888) has housed The Kerrville Eye and The Kerrville Mountain Sun newspapers, the Guthrie Hotel, amd most recently, two photo studios.

Then we came upon three buildings which, in spite of our brief time in the Hill Country, had special meaning to us. The three were designed by architect Alfred Giles. (You may remember that we had met two of Mr. Giles' granddaughters during our visit to Comfort, TX. See the entries for December 12th and 13th.)

This building (c. 1870s) housed the "Favorite Saloon" and is currently a gift shop.

This Giles-designed building was the home of the Kerrville Masonic Lodge until 1927. It then served as the Post Office and a grocery store before becoming Sheftall's Jewelers.

Finally, the third building designed by Giles was the home of A.C. Schreiner, Jr. (a wedding gift from Capt. Schreiner to his son); it was built in 1927. Now a private residence.

Through Mr. Giles' granddaughters, we felt a bit closer to the history of Kerrville.

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