1930 Classical Revival – San Antonio, TX

Added to OHD on 2/26/15   -   Last OHD Update: 4/12/20   -   24 Comments
SOLD / Archived Post
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1115 Nolan St, San Antonio, TX 78202

  • $195,000
  • 3 Bed
  • 2 Bath
  • 2250 Sq Ft
  • 0.37 Ac.
Come see this wonderful historic property in Dignowity. Sold "as is" "where is" and "with all faults". This home needs repairs.
Contact Information
Deborah Robinson, Kingdom Living Realty,
(210) 566-0101

State: | Region: | Associated Styles or Type:
Period & Associated Styles: , | Misc:

24 Comments on 1930 Classical Revival – San Antonio, TX

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  1. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11893 comments
    Admin

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    I’m putting my Ancestry account to use! A 1930 census puts Albion Cowart, 74; wife Hermine, 67, along with 2 daughters and their husbands with two grandchildren and Albion’s brother and sister-in-law at this address. Albion passed in 1931 and Hermine in 1936.

    The 1940 census shows Augusta, age 60, one of the daughters, widowed; the other sister Cora and her husband along with their daughter. A cousin is also listed at this address.

    1952 directory shows Cora living at this address, she passed 1973 but it appears she had already moved from here. I did not find anything more about Augusta or who lived here after.

    • JimHJimH says: 4950 comments
      OHD Supporter

      Kelly, it’s fun to find out who lived in these old places and to tease out the details from all the different records.
      Albion Cowart was a salesman for Singer Sewing Machine and bought the place by 1926 [City Directories]. He was from old Scottish stock and a photo of a family heirloom apron was in the local paper, made in Scotland in 1717.
      David Johnson, a shirt-maker from New York, lived in the house earlier and probably built it. He was the youngest of 11 children born to Polish immigrants, was at this address by 1910 and owned the house with a mortgage, by 1920 he owned it free and clear. After living in Oregon for a few years in the 1890’s, David had returned to New York, married Pauline Ollendick in 1898, the 2nd marriage for both, and they came to Texas about 1902. (from Censuses, City Directories, family trees etc].

      • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11893 comments
        Admin

        1901 Folk Victorian
        Chestatee, GA

        Cool! I’m still learning the ropes on Ancestry and won’t be able to do it for every house but it is fun to do. 🙂

        • JimHJimH says: 4950 comments
          OHD Supporter

          It’s also a great way to learn about the old times. David & Pauline Johnson had 8 children but apparently they were too busy to help out:
          San Antonio Evening News – August 26, 1920 – HELP WANTED
          COLORED boy wanted to work in house and around yard; must be clean. 1115 Nolan St.

      • Chris M. says: 2 comments

        Hi Jim H! My wife and I now own this property. Where did you find such interesting information about the [likely] original owners?

        • JimHJimH says: 4950 comments
          OHD Supporter

          Hi Chris. I’d have to do it all over to remember where each factlet came from, but basically it’s City Directories, censuses and some info from family trees posted by descendants on Ancestry.com. In cities where the addresses haven’t changed and Directories are available, it’s pretty straightforward. If the address is simple and unique like this one, Google and Google Books searches bring up some info too, like the death of Mrs. Augusta (Cowart) Neely Brown who lived here in 1959 and died at age 80.
          Good luck with the house – it’s a nice one!

  2. Bethany says: 3480 comments

    I would buy this just to be able to say I live in “Dignowity.”

  3. AnnM says: 40 comments

    I can’t figure out the exterior. I do love all that interior woodwork but it seems like a strange, dark layout. I think the hideous wood paneling is throwing me.

  4. Chris says: 6 comments

    Love the woodwork but they have to ruin the rooms with paneling lol.. Loads of potential !

  5. MW says: 877 comments

    Whoa, I guess somebody got tired of cutting the grass.

  6. Stacey says: 24 comments

    The house could be beautiful once again, but that backyard, or what is left of it, makes me want to cry.

    • John Shiflet says: 5363 comments

      Nicole Curtis, that small human dynamo who calls herself a Rehab Addict on HGTV, has powered up an excavator/front end loader in a couple of episodes and proceeded to lift up and toss concrete pavement into large dumpsters. I see no reason why that couldn’t be repeated here. If necessary, the ground could be scraped and an organic enriched soil cover could be spread along with sod grass. The only caveat might be that San Antonio could have outdoor watering restrictions (like the DFW area has) if so, then a Xeriscape approach to the yard might be required. San Antonio does get hot in the summers and is often humid as well but winters are mild compared to most places.

  7. John Shiflet says: 5363 comments

    Not 1930 but more like 1910. The house dates from the first two decades of the 20th century when the old Greek Revival forms of the Antebellum period were reinterpreted and combined with Colonial Revival/Neo-Classical and Georgian Revival details. Houses like this were built all over Texas during these early 1900’s decades. A restoration goal would be to bring it back to this early 1900’s period in appearance. Some of the door transoms have been removed but enough remains to put them back if wished. The first thing I’d do is rip off the horrible 1970’s paneling that was sold in lumber yards back then. It was a cheap cover up, but looks totally out of place in a house like this one. I’m unfamiliar with various San Antonio neighborhoods, so one would need to compare neighborhood values with what would be needed to renovate this house before taking on this project house. It would be a wonderful example of a “before and after” renovation project. A period entry door with a large beveled glass pane would look ideal here. No doubt, this one has seen some hard rental use and extended neglect but seems to have potential contingent upon the location.

    • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11893 comments
      Admin

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      Looking further back, the Johnsons lived at this address in 1921. I haven’t found anything older than that so far (although that doesn’t prove it’s not older, just as far back as I’ve found.)

      • John Shiflet says: 5363 comments

        Sanborn maps might go back earlier. I’m just going on interior details to guesstimate a date. No one was making interiors like this in 1930 but they were very common in 1910. (and up until World War I)

        • JimHJimH says: 4950 comments
          OHD Supporter

          John, you’re right on. The date is bracketed 1903-1910 from Directories; the Sanborn book for 1904 has no map for this neighborhood – this was the outer edge of town then but the roads were laid out.

        • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11893 comments
          Admin

          1901 Folk Victorian
          Chestatee, GA

          John, I wasn’t disagreeing just saying that’s as far back as I looked. 🙂

          • John Shiflet says: 5363 comments

            Thanks Jim H., my guesstimate was based on the millwork and other details, The period between 1900 and 1920 was an era of rapid change in interior details as houses transitioned from the late Victorian era into the new 20th Century. I’ve seen many millwork catalogs, period photos, and other archival materials sufficiently to have a fairly good idea of the stylistic changes from year to year. That said, there is some overlap in the years as well as geographical differences. Large cities tended to adopt changes in stylistic tastes more rapidly than in rural areas. Kelly, the information you found was never considered as a disagreement-if anything, it confirmed the 1930 date was too late for the original house. Last, I’m not an architectural historian at least in the academic sense. My core knowledge about old houses is found in the Victorian era with little more than basic knowledge about Federal and Colonial era houses. Thankfully, Old House Dreams has some true scholars of old houses who regularly post extending back to the earliest Colonial period as well as some who are far better versed than I on post-World War I architecture including the currently popular Mid-Century Modern homes from the post WWII period. As always, diligent research is always more accurate than conclusions reached from visual observations. (especially those derived from a few listing photos) Your blog is fortunate to have a number of skilled genealogists as well as history sleuths who can discover elusive tidbits from the distant past. The ability to bring the human history of these houses back to light for readers truly sets your blog apart from others with an old house theme.

  8. says: 15 comments

    Dignowity is an old neighborhood starting to gentrify right East of Downtown. I like it and some homes have a great view of downtown. Most would say the area is a bit rough.

  9. Chris M. says: 2 comments

    Hi Everyone! My wife and I purchased this house on Sept-28 2015! We have found this house (originally addressed as 1117 Nolan) on the 1912 Sanborn fire insurance maps. The 1904 maps ended about 5 or 6 blocks West of our property, so I assume that’s because there was nothing built there yet.

    So, it was built sometime between 1904 and 1912. We’ll be headed down to the local library sometime to see what else we can dig up!

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