Around the Square

In and around (and sometimes under) Depot Square are many things that have their own story. We wanted to share a few of them here so that as you stroll around the grounds you can appreciate the rich history that surrounds you. --Linda & Mark Stone, Proprietors

S.A. & A.P. Iron Rail Tracks

The railroad stopped running in Kerrville in 1970, and most of the iron rails were removed for scrap. There is a section that you can still see that crosses McFarland west of Hays and continues onto City property. That rail spur had served the Kerrville Ice and Electric Company. Past the street, the rails had been covered in dirt and long forgotten. With the help of Kerrville Director of Public Works Charlie Hastings, P.E., and his team, we were able to purchase and relocate two 24’ 8” sections of the original SA&AP narrow gauge rails. They are now on display under the big American elm tree for all to enjoy.


Garden Rail Tracks

When the Depot was renovated in 2004, our friends, Laura and Travis Evans gifted us these sections of rails to use in our landscape. They brought them over from the Houston area and helped us put them in place where they now serve to remind us of the buildings’ past.


Cross Buck and S.A. & A.P. Signs

Ever since restoring the Depot, we have searched for original signs and the traditional cross buck that customarily stands at track crossings. We discovered they are hard to find and expensive to ship. Mark created ours using pieces and parts he purchased wherever he could find them. An original SA&AP Mission Route sign proved impossible to find so he hand painted this one instead! Most people do not know that the bell on the cross buck actually works - just pull the wire on the back of the pole to hear it ring!


Original Wooden Railroad Ties

When Frank Beitel sold the SA&AP part of his land to build the new depot in 1915, he received a spur of rail tracks that ran into his lumberyard to load and unload three railcars of material. In forming the new foundation for the building moved from 433 Water Street, we uncovered some of the original wooden railroad ties, along with a few steel tie plates, spikes, and brass pins. The ties are on display in the garden behind the roses.


Lumberyard Doves

Working on the lumberyard and turning it into the Events Hall created a big mess for a long time. At that time, a mother dove made her nest in the south-west corner of the building. Through all the noise and mayhem she stayed and raised her baby until they could both safely move on. The ceramic doves atop the post in that corner are in her honor, for Mom’s everywhere who stick around through the hard times.


433 Water Street Basement

When James Spicer built the building at 433 Water Street c. 1884, he went to a lot of extra trouble and expense to dig an eight-foot tall basement and rock-in its walls. He dug an even a deeper section into the dirt floor that we expect was created to hold ice for extra cooling. We harvested five of the hand-cut limestone rocks from the basement and they are on display in the gardens. Two of the cast-iron basement vents now hang on the stucco walls of the mercantile building.


Fireplace “Heart” Fossil

A beautiful fireplace graced the building before it was moved from Water to Clay Street. It is said to have been designed by Mrs. Louis Schreiner when the building was known as the “Schreiner Bowling Alley.” Too heavy to move, the fireplace was dismantled. It contained some clam fossils known as heart rocks and one of these can be found in the brick design by the lion table. The remaining heart rocks were given to Belinda Dowd Fleming who grew up in the apartments that her mother, Queen Jones Dowd owned (you can read more about her in the “Talking Walls” section). Rock removal during the moving process revealed the shape of the previous fireplace original to the building. We installed an off-centered window in that wall space where the chimney penetrated the original wood siding.


Mercantile Messages

Moving the building was quite an undertaking handled by Roger Faglie and his team, mostly consisting of his family and including some very helpful grandsons. They were in every part of the building, first moving it to the side off the basement space to put the wheels under it for the move. They found the “W. M 6/9/26” on June 9, 2011!

Mark found the inscription “W. G. Thrailkill Kerrville Texas” written in pencil under several pieces of door trim that needed to be changed as doorways were increased in width for ADA access. Mr. Thrailkill is listed as the contractor of the 1926 Kerr County Courthouse and we speculate he was the contractor who converted the Schreiner Bowling Alley to the Morris Apartments, defining the spaces still in use today.


Dedicated Garden

Ralph and Violet Stone are Mark’s parents. In the garden between the Rails courtyard and the shops you will find a plaque dedicating the garden to them. They were married for 45 years, raising their family in Corpus Christi, Texas, and coming to the Hill Country first for fun and then to live. Ralph worked on large construction jobs and served with the Marines in WWII with his brother Alan Stone (Melissa Southern’s Grandfather) and two brother-in-laws. Violet worked hard, especially in her youth, and enjoyed being a homemaker, a volunteer, and playing organ for her church. In the memorial garden you will find the antique rose called Cecile Brunner, a favorite of Violets’ and planted in her honor. She called it Mary’s rose after her Mother, Mary Burgess, who also loved its delicate fragrant blooms. Violet planted a large bush in front of their home on Turtle Creek where she and Ralph first ran a rock shop called “The House of Stone.” They then lived the rest of their lives there. The house remains in the family and two great-grandsons are now growing up in that same home.


Lightning Rods

On top of the Mercantile are three Lightning rods. They were purchased new from a company in Maryland who work out of an old barn. They could be functional but we decided not to run the cables since the building is already well grounded. Our agile roofers, the Neri brothers, seemed to enjoy the task of installing them.


Cedar Cement Shed Foundation Posts

The Lumberyard included two long buildings running the length of the property. A building called the cement shed sat in the far northeast corner. The sliding door of that shed now separates the rooms in the Events Hall and its cedar foundation posts are in the garden on display in that same corner.


"Telegraph" Poles

Well, maybe not real telegraph poles. They’re there just for fun. The glass insulators, horizontal beams, and all the metal findings were brought from Port Clinton, Ohio, where they were removed when the lines there were modernized over twenty years ago. The metal-angled support brackets came from an original basement access grate at 433 Water Street.


Lion Tile Table

I fell in love with the lion and at first, wanted a fountain, but with the local water restrictions that are often in effect, we designed this focal point as an outside rock-slab table. Using all hand-made tiles from two different American studios, the design was created with the help of Anne Parker at “Design Tile” on Water Street. Our fabulous brick masons, the Mejia brothers, completed the project. Anne also supplied the inside tile - so from practical to exceptional, we recommend her shop! More at www.designtiletexas.com.

Russell Bench

Our Dear friends Jane and Joe Russell moved to Kerrville in 1966. In 2014 we had this bench made and two oak trees planted in honor of them.

Joe G. Russell (1926-2008) was a Kerrville artist famous for hill country landscapes and historical portraiture. Joe was born in Austin and he began to put his view of Texas down on paper at age four. As he grew up, his Grandfather Will and Great Grandfather Hardin Russell were sheriffs of Blanco County. Joe and his father were accomplished horsemen and enjoyed membership in the Capital City Mounted Posse, a precision-riding club. Joe would have told you that experience was his best teacher…that it led to creating a style and technique all his own. He was a quiet unassuming gentleman who preferred to let his art do his talking for him. He was inspired by God's creations. Joe became a member of the Texas Cowboy Artists Association in 1981. Now his spirit lives on in his work. www.JoeRussellArtist.com

Jane Hullinger Russell (1926-2014) was raised in Llano. She graduated from Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas. She worked as a teacher for Austin Public, Kerrville Public, and Notre Dame Catholic Schools. She was a member of First Baptist Church. She received teacher of the year award in 1998.

They married December 2, 1949 in Austin, Texas. In 1966, Joe moved his family to Kerrville where he began painting in oils full-time. They touched many lives and we miss them greatly.


Forget Me Not Plaque

This small plaque was created by George Carruth in Waterville, Ohio. (www.carruthstudio.com) George carves stone or clay into unique classic and whimsical designs that are then cast for reproduction. I chose the forget-me-not design for obvious reasons. Most of us want to be remembered - so do these buildings and the people who have lived and worked in them for so many years. Please, forget them not.