One of downtown San Antonio’s historic buildings restored to 1930s glory – mySA

After a few months, one of downtown San Antonio’s historic places is looking like it did back in 1938. Over the weekend, one of the glass windows at the San Antonio Hermann Sons Home Association (HSHA) building was reinstalled after undergoing a $12,000 restoration.  

In March, the window was removed for repairs and wooden boards sat in its place. HSHA Board President Lori Todd told MySA the lower window, which complements the main piece designed by Helen Ferne Goolsby Slimp in 1911, was created and installed in 1938. She said the glass window took some hits from birds, stones, and hail throughout the years. 

A $10,000 grant awarded by the Conservation Society of San Antonio helped the association pay the $12,000 cost for the fixing. Hermann Sons was able to pay the difference from donations, mostly collected from bar patrons, Todd previously told MySA. The window was transported to the Whitworth Stained Glass facility in New Braunfels for repairs. 

Todd shared photos with MySA showing the 84-year-old window returned home on Friday, June 10. Some of the process was hands-on for the HSHA community. 

“Chris Naughton, board member and building manager, is dedicated to preserving the building and he put a lot of work into the project by helping Whitworth rebuild the framing inside the window,” Todd says. 

Jaime Martinez, who is also part of the HSHA community, also volunteered his time to reinstall the window.

“We are thrilled,” the board president adds. “Our goal is to continue with restoration efforts at the historical building, which played an important part of San Antonio’s history.”

The building dates back more than 100 years and is home to the Hermann Sons Lodges, which are eight chapters of a fraternal order of German immigrants. The Hermann Sons Grand Lodge was created on March 27, 1890 and officed on Villita Street between Navarro and South Presa. That building has since been torn down. In 1911, the San Antonio Hermann Sons Home Association charter was created and the current 525 S. Saint Mary’s Street building was built to house the eight lodges and the grand lodge. The eight groups continue to meet at the HSHA building to this date, according to the website. 

In 2017, the building underwent a list of renovations and changes that included opening the indoor bowling alley for private parties and activating the Rathskeller basement bar. The latter holds the longest running Texas Alcoholic Beverage and Liquor License in Bexar County, with live music and trivia nights. 

Throughout the changes, the stained glass windows remain a focal point of the Hermann Sons building. The larger window by Slimp was restored “several” years ago through fundraising, the association says

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