Half a century later, a lone chimney still looms over the empty West Side lot


I grew up on Muskogee Street off Acme Road, way before (Texas) Highway 151. My childhood days were (spent) running barefoot through the vegetable fields of Van De Walle Farms. And ever since I was a little kid, I remember going to the Piggly Wiggly on old Route 90 West and looking from afar at an old chimney that stood in the middle of that empty lot at 302 Monterey St. , Property ID 410728, NCB 8239 BLK Lots 60 & 61.

Now I’m 54 and have moved to the Donaldson Terrace area, but every time I pass this lot I still see the ghostly fireplace.

Do you know of any history on this? What was it? I know Old Highway 90 West has a lot of history…but who lived at 302 Monterey and built the chimney, the business or whatever?

Please help. I’ve looked at the deeds and land records for Bexar County, but I can’t seem to make head or tail of them.

—Annette Gonzales

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This was an area on the West Side of San Antonio known as Lake View for its proximity to Lake Elmendorf, named after the owners who staked the adjacent land.

During the last two decades of the 19th century, the land was traded between primarily out-of-state investors and was first developed in 1893 for residential development. A promised light rail line ran into difficulties, which may have dampened interest.

“Lake View did not grow rapidly, in part because of a national recession in the 1890s that slowed land sales across the city,” says local historian Maria Watson Pfeiffer in a history of the park. of Lake Elmendorf on the city’s website, www.sanantonio.gov.

The solitary fireplace goes back to the next and more successful trial.

A new flat for a “subdivision of Bexar County” named Lake View Gardens No. 1 was filed on September 9, 1909 by WW Searcy Jr. and JH Maulding, officers of the Southwestern Land Corp., to offer 1 acre lots of irrigated land. Later newspaper advertisements highlighted its “rich, flat garden soil” and even its “chocolate loam…needing no fertilizer” with piped land for irrigation.

At the time, the plot was a relatively narrow strip of land with 122 lots that still needed a lot of soon-to-be-promised work, including leveled streets, electrical and telephone connections, transport and water.

For a directory of “local manufacturers and dealers living off business prospects” in the San Antonio Light and Gazette, May 18, 1909, this new company presented itself as “the builders of fortune…a coterie of practical real estate operators” responsible of the most advantageously placed Lake View, “a beautiful parcel of land bordering the shores of Lake Elmendorf a short distance from the magnificent (Our) Lady of the Lake College (now University), St. Louis College (now St. Mary’s University ), the Peacock Military Academy (covered here June 4 and 11) and the West End Female College. Lots had to be sold between $100 and $700, with all but one restricted to manufacturers and retailers. was not unusual at the time, “No lot (would) be sold to negroes”.)

Dive deeper into the academy:

The Peacock Military Academy in San Antonio marched to the beat of its own drum

Lake View, described elsewhere as “eight miles out of town”, was said here to be “within a 15 minute trolley ride to the theater and shopping districts, and the company (Southwestern Land) guarantees completion of the car line within one and a half blocks of each lot within 12 months.The Lake View Gardens flat map shows a “proposed car line” along Commerce Street and West (now Southwest) 34th Street.

According to streetcar historian Ed Gaida, it was a continuation of the Prospect Hill line of cars, “eventually extended north, turning right on 24th Street, going north and making a loop. Later, a second car line named Lakeview was built on Martin Street and took over the loop formerly occupied by the Prospect Hill line. Both service upgrades, however, were years in the future.

An even more pressing need was water, shown on the dish’s map as a well occupying two lots along West 34th Street and promoted as “the largest well in Texas” in an infomercial for the San Antonio real estate section. Light, July 24. , 1910. Lake View Gardens had then just “been officially opened for sale”, and construction of the development’s water well would be underway, with a 14-inch bottom and 10-inch top, “unusually large for an artesian bien”, rivaling in size one in Artois, France, which was discovered in the Middle Ages “and never ceased its flow of water”.

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This article, which quotes general manager of development sales Alfred C. Jackson, may contain “a marketing element,” said San Antonio water system historian Gregg Eckhardt, because “the actual well with which they ended up was not as spectacular”.

Drilled in 1910 to tap into the Edwards Aquifer, it was completed at a depth of 1,330 feet and produced approximately 200 gallons of water per minute or 288,000 gallons per day. It was an 8 inch shaft, just over half the projected diameter. “They may have realized they didn’t have the money or the need for a well of the size described in the article,” Eckhardt said.

A water supply company was created to serve the neighborhood. As each lot or parcel of lots was purchased, a Lake View Gardens No. 1 Water Association membership fee was charged and each customer became a member.

The company – which later struggled to pass state inspections – had a board that resisted a takeover by the City Water Board (a precursor to SAWS) in 1957, voting to keep the system “as long as it holds together”, as noted in a memo from CWB staff at the time. Apparently that’s what they did, Eckhardt said, until 1984, “when the area began to be serviced by the city’s very large wells at the 34th Street Pumphouse, such as c is the case today”.

Even with public transport and water, Lake View Gardens did not fill up quickly.

“In 1914 there were only 30 houses listed in Lake View,” Pfeiffer explains, “and seven years later there were 63 houses.” Developers Searcy and Maulding even had to sue some neighboring farmers to stop them from grazing cattle on these large spaces, which would gradually be sold off in plots of up to 5 acres and used for ranching and livestock, including chickens and pigs.

More SA history from Paula Allen:

SA product markets have shifted or transformed

From the city directory and deeds research by San Antonio Conservation Society Foundation librarian Beth Standiford, lot 61 – where the fireplace still stands – it appears that lot 61 was transferred frequently and often sold with lot 60. The first and apparently the only house on the property was built in 1936 by the Newsan Corp., a New York company doing business in Texas.

As 5006 Monterey St. it was sold several times, with Isaac Forsythe (father of former owners Charles E. and JA Forsythe of New York, who may have been incorporated as Newsan Corp.) having the longest tenure, from 1936 until his death. home on February 5, 1942. His daughter and son-in-law, dentist Fred Mitchell, who lived with him, succeeded him in the house until it was purchased by entrepreneur Hugh E. Buchanan in 1945.

A 1941 classified ad for the sale of the “six room cottage” at this address describes it as having “every modern convenience”, with fruit trees, 1 ½ acres under cultivation and “chicken amenities” on Monterey and Highway 90 (now Old Highway 90).

Buchanan and his wife, Stella, were among the few owners known to have lived in the house, and may have done so while rehabilitating the property, which they sold the following year to the Church of God, headquartered in Cleveland, Tennessee. The church may have used it as a vicarage or vicarage, since the occupant in 1948 was the Reverend Vessie Hargrave, listed in the directory as “Pastor, Church of God”.

The address as such disappears from the city directory in the early 1950s. Maps from Sanborn Insurance Co., which might have included a little more structural or contextual detail, did not cover the area. Although part of Lot 60 was sold to Bexar County, it does not appear to have been designated for highway development.

Highway historian Brian Purcell, curator of the Texas Highwayman website, www.texashighwayman.com, verified a 1933 right-of-way map that showed a house on Lot 61 – earlier than other records show the demonstrated – and compared it to a 1966 aerial map that showed a house where the chimney is today.

Another insulated chimney:

Olmos Park’s Stone Chimney still sparks memories for campersReplace this text with your teaser header and add a hyperlink

So the house had to be demolished sometime between 1966 and the mid-1970s when you first remember it and for some reason other than freeway widening or construction projects, since the vacant lot and the fireplace are still there. The hearth and chimney may have been left behind, as often happens, because the work of dismantling is not profitable – breaking the stone or brick leaves the materials too damaged to be sold for salvage.

Anyone who knows more about the reason for the dismantling and the chimney left behind can write to this column. All answers will be transmitted and could appear in a future column.

The Alamo Heights Historical Association will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the Alamo Heights City Hall Council Chambers, 6116 Broadway, to discuss the founding of this new organization and plans for research. To RSVP, contact Sarah Reveley, [email protected]

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