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 King William Historic Homesites
 By Caroline Turney
N ovember is ideal for lazy weekend mornings with a pumpkin spice beverage and your favorite cozy sweater. If time is on your side, why not take advantage of the fall weather with a self-guided walking tour through a few notable homesites in the King William Historic District? Before you go, be sure to check each site’s current health and safety
As one of San Antonio’s most popular
spots for brunch, beginning at the Guenther House Restaurant (www.guenterhouse. com) will fill you with enough delicious fuel to easily complete your two-block stroll. With everything from critically acclaimed griddle and baked goods to fresh green salads, the menu offers something for everyone. They don’t take reservations, so be prepared to wait at this local dining mecca and museum showcasing the former home of C.H. Guenther—founder of Pioneer Flour Mills on the San Antonio River in 1851. Just across the river and up one block on King William St. is the Edward Steves Homestead House (www.saconservation. org/what-we-do/tours). As the successful founder of the Steves Lumber Company, Edward Steves built the three-story mansion in 1876 incorporating several characteristics
of the French Second Empire and Italian Villa styles. It is recognized as one of the earliest estates in San Antonio with an indoor swimming pool.
A short three-minute walk away lies Villa Finale Museum & Gardens (www.villafinale. org). The homestead’s original structure was a one-story residence built in 1876 by merchant Russel C. Norton. After a 1921 flood severely damaged the neighborhood, many wealthy families moved away from the San Antonio River.
By 1967, the property had been repurposed into a boarding home, and the surrounding area had fallen into a state of decline. That year, local civic leader and collector Walter Nold Mathis purchased the home and began a two-year restoration project. Mathis purchased and restored 14 properties in King William and sold them to individuals who shared his passion for preservation. Mathis is credited with being the spark that ignited the flames of restoration in the King William Historic District.
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November 2021

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