Throwback Thursday: How King William got its name, historic design and charm

King William designated as Texas' first residential historical district

SAN ANTONIO – The origins of the King William District can be traced to the late 1700s when the land was designated for the family of Mexican sculptor Pedro Huizar and the Indigenous people in the area.

Decades later, German settlers who were mostly merchants, moved into the neighborhood and began to build many homes. It also led to the naming of the district.

“The name comes from Kaiser Willhelm, who was the King of Prussia, and it was named King William after him,” said Zet Baer, interim executive director of King William Association.

The neighborhood flourished and became lined with beautiful homes designed in a Victorian, Greek and Italianate styles.

But the flood of 1921 forced many King William homeowners to higher ground.

The neighborhood declined and was nearly lost for good in the late 1960s.

“A group of neighbors got together to form the King William Association, to protect our homes so they wouldn’t be demolished, as were so many homes to prepare the land for Hemisfair,” Baer said.

Shortly thereafter, the King William District was designated as Texas’ first residential historical district in 1968.

Four years later, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The area is now known for its diversity and charm.

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The King William Fair celebrates the cultural impact of the area and is one of the most unique Fiesta events.

“People come and are able to see the homes and meet friends and it really is a community event,” said Baer.

The diversity and charm would not exist without the homeowners who worked to save the area decades ago, and continue to preserve the land and cultural feel.

“The homes are reflective of the people who live in them,” Baer said. “The homes have so much meaning for the people who care for them and protect them.”

About the Authors:

RJ Marquez has been at KSAT since 2010. He's covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area, and is the lead reporter for KSAT Explains. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms. You can see RJ regularly on KSAT Explains and Good Morning San Antonio. He also writes a weekly Spurs newsletter.

Valerie Gomez is an Emmy-nominated video editor and San Antonio native. She is the lead editor for KSAT Explains and also loves Jeff Goldblum.