Sartor House


217 King William StREET

Though best known for his larger commissions, Alfred Giles created some delightful small-scale works, including this house for prominent jeweler Alexander Sartor. Street-front detailing includes five large windows opening onto a handsome deep frame verandah. The soft caliche block walls are stuccoed to imitate ashlar masonry with protruding mortar joints.

‘San Antonio Architecture, Traditions and Visions’, AIA San Antonio, 2007

Sartor House, 217 King William

The central, front porch pediment with hanging pendant that frames the front door reflects the Gothic influence of this Victorian-era house. Arched openings, dentil molding and decorative porch elements further mark the Victorian style.

This gem of a house was built around 1882 for Alexander Sartor, who came to San Antonio from Germany. He was a popular watch repairman and had one of the first jewelry stores in the city. Mr. Sartor, three times married, lived in this house with his family until 1909, shortly after he retired from business. He died in 1915.

The original architect for the house was Alfred Giles, the most popular in San Antonio at that time. Though many of the homes in this area have highly decorative porches, this one is unique in its details, which are worth noting.

Samuel Shipman Evants and his wife, Haskie, purchased the property from Alex and Caroline Sartor in February 1909 and sold it to Robert H. Krause in August of that same year. In 1913, after Robert died, his widow, Charlotte, sold to Terrell and Elizabeth Bartlett. In 1948, Goldie Niggli (221 King William) bought the property and ten years later sold to F.G. and Katheryn Antonio. From the 1950s the house belonged to the Tobin Foundation and was used by the Family Welfare Association, and later as a guest house for Hemisfair visitors. In 1973, Julia Cauthorn purchased the property and accomplished a complete restoration. Mrs. Cauthorn is said to have sold old jewelry and gold coins to buy the house. She added the ornate antique iron fence, a gift from her son-in-law, in the late 1970s. Other owners were Egon Tausche in 1994 and Rodolfo Choperena in 2001.

The King William Area, A History and Guide to the Houses, Mary V. Burkholder and Jessie N.M. Simpson; published by the King William Association, 2017