Prussians

Trip Start May 01, 2007
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Trip End May 14, 2007


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Flag of United States  , Texas
Friday, August 3, 2007

I went with an AIA preservation tour to visit the home of recently deceased Walter Mathis, in the King William Historic District.   The main entry street into the neighborhood was named after Kaiser Wilhelm I, King of Prussia in the 1870's.  The large settlement of Prussians in the 1840's is but a memory today, since the area is now called King William (English version name change happened, as usual). 

Villa Finale, built in 1876, was restored in the 1960's by Walter Mathis who lived there until his death in December of 2005.  His collection is currently under development by architectural historians and preservationists at the house, and so it is not open to the public yet, but we got a private tour. 

Mathis's collection included Napoleonic artifacts, Texan and European artwork, and will be eventually on display for the general public and Smithsonian Institution.  Mathis's renovation of this house led the way to renovate the rest of the neighborhood and list it as a National Trust Historic District.  Mathis is descended from John Smith, one of the main fighters at the Alamo, as well as pioneers who settled the southwest in 1700's.
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