Keystone (lime green) is a triangular-shaped neighborhood bordered by Fredericksburg Road on the west, I-10 on the east, and Hildebrand Avenue on the north. Hildebrand, originally Carey Avenue, was renumbered and renamed in 1959 in honor of H.E. Hildebrand, President of the Battle of Flowers in 1905, Chairman of the Democratic Party, and the person responsible for Right of Way for Southern Pacific Railroad. Amid these streets are a number of family businesses that have supported our neighborhoods and the community at large for decades.
Fredericksurg Road was an important business corridor in San Antonio, gateway to the Hill Country via the Old Spanish Trail Auto Highway in the 1920s and now the site of the Deco District, which began a slow metamorphosis almost 20 years ago. The Deco District, a few of its blocks demarcated by mosaic-tiled signs designed by Colleen Frost, is home to a number of architecturally significant structures, including the building at 1909 Fredericksburg Road, the site of recent neighborhood activism initiated to preserve this last remaining example of florid Art Deco in the District.
Just across the street is the Woodlawn Theatre at 1920 Fredericksburg Road. Streamline moderne in style, it was constructed in 1946 by Romanian-born John Eberson. The legendary John Wayne hosted the world premiere of his movie The Alamo here in 1960. While a venue of esteem and prestige in the 60s and 70s, the theatre fell upon hard times and was forced to shut down. Tragically, it suffered many years on life support with multiple owners attempting to resuscitate its former glory.
But now, the theatrical resurrection of the Woodlawn Theatre as a live performance venue is well on its way under the new leadership of Kurt and Sherry Wehner, who bring talent, energy and expertise to the Deco District. They’ve also added a theatre academy for youth next door and a Black Box theater, now home to the Classic Theatre.
At the center of the District is the Deco Building (1800 Fredericksburg Road), which is entered through main doors flanked by tile mosaics executed by Oscar Alvarado. The building houses Studio Tour participant Centro Cultural Aztlán as well as past-participant Alexander Devora’s Still Life Photography Studio and the non-profit Network for Young Artists. Next door is Honest Charlie’s Tattooing. Its back door boasts a mural of the Alamo, begun in 2007 by tattoo artists Rob Gonzalez Gomez and Cat Poison.
Farther south is Cool Crest Miniature Golf. Established in 1937, Cool Crest was the first miniature golf course in the country. After a six-year hiatus and a facelift, the long-loved Cool Crest reopened under its new owners, the Audry Brothers, to much fanfare in June 2013. At the edge of Fredericksburg and I-10 is Oak Farms Dairy, originally Knowlton Creamery, built in 1936. The Creamery was sold in
1979 and since then the dairy has had various corporate owners.
Keystone Neighborhood is bisected by the Fulton Avenue Historic District, established in 2001. Stucco homes, built between 1927 and 1929, were designed in the Spanish Eclectic style. Developed in California, this style became very fashionable in the Southwest, especially, between World War I and the Great Depression. This easily identifiable style is characterized by low-pitched, red tile roofs, little or no overhanging eaves, stucco siding, and arches, especially above doors, porch entries and main windows. Some Spanish-inspired homes may also have an asymmetrical shape with cross-gables and side wings, a flat roof and parapets or a hipped roof, carved wooden doors, spiral columns and pilasters, courtyards, carved stonework or cast ornaments, and patterned interior tile floors and wall surfaces.
In 2009 City Council approved the Keystone Park Historic District, comprised of the 1400 and 1500 blocks of W. Rosewood and W. Lynwood. Originally known as the Keystone Park Addition, the neighborhood was platted between 1908 and 1910 by Clifton George. Little growth occurred until the 1920s, when developer L. E. Fite began construction of homes within the first phase of the neighborhood. Fite, the so called ‘Sub-Division Man’ of San Antonio, was a prolific developer in the early 20th century and was responsible for 29 subdivisions around the city. The homes within the Keystone Park Historic District were designed primarily in the Tudor Revival style, popular in the early 20th century. Characteristic features include dominant cross gables on the façades, steeply pitched roofs, large chimneys and arched entryways. Many of the homes are clad with brick, stone or stucco. The area remains a cohesive and intact neighborhood indicative of early 20th-century suburban development.