Robert G. Striegler Home
Through a chain of circumstances, one of Fredericksburg's beautiful old homes has fortunately been preserved for generations to come. It now belongs to a young couple, Robert and Cheri Carter, who have recycled it to esthetic, yet practical use. Antique furniture, glassware, quilts, collectibles and memorabilia of yesteryear are now sold here.
The house was built for Robert G. Striegler and his wife in 1908. They bought Townlot 182 on which it is built from Joseph Bilhartz and his wife, Hortense, on October 22, 1907. Until then, ownership had remained in the family of the original grantee, Christian Ebers, to whom the German Emigration Company assigned it, as well as Outlot 86 (10 acres) when the original allotment of one townlot and one outlot was made to each of the first settlers.
Mr. and Mrs. Striegler played an important role in Fredericksburg's business, social and cultural history, and the home they built in 1908 was one of the real showplaces along the city's Main Street. Mr. Striegler was born in Gillespie County November 1, 1874. His wife, the former Selma Weyrich, was born in Fredericksburg March 15, 1882, the daughter of the William Weyrichs who lived on the opposite side of Main Street at the east end of this same block. They were married August 12, 1903, with the Rev. I. Glatzle officiating at the ceremony held in the home of her parents.
At first they lived in a small house in the middle of the block west of here -- approximately where the Firestone store is now located. For about four years after they were married, she still continued to help her mother in the millinery business she conducted in the Weyrich home, but then she felt she could be of more help to her husband in his business and with the new home they were building.
They bought this choice piece of property on Main Street on October 22, 1907, and got underway with building their house right away, as the red granite cornerstone bears the inscription “1908” on one side and “R.G.S.” on the other exposed side.
According to Mrs. Louis Brodie, a cousin of Selma Striegler, the house was built by Weber Bros., a partnership stonemason and cement yard business conducted by two brothers, August L.C. And Otto Weber. Their place of business was across the street at the west end of this same block.
In 1906 they had built the new cut limestone addition to the Kraus building on West Main Street where Willie Kuenemann did all of the custom millwork for the interior woodwork and around the doors and windows. This woodwork in the Streigler home is similar in design to that which he used in the Kraus building, so it is very likely this same craftsman was used for the woodwork. The sides and tops of the doors and windows have grooved boards with square corner ornaments with grooved circles in the middle of them.
The house is unique in its ell-shaped design in that the halls and all the rooms except two have doors opening directly onto the large front and back porches, and the high ceilings permit tall, wide windows which provide good cross-ventilation. Above each door in the house there is a big transom with glass pane which, when open, provides more cross-ventilation, and when closed, admits additional light into the room.
On the ground floor the west wing had the living room infront, nearest the street. It has one tall, wide window with the upper part, which is stationary, made of thick beveled leaded glass. This room also has a tall, narrower window and door opening onto the front porch, with two tall windows in the west wall.
Behind it was their dining room with massive sliding doors separating them. These slide into the wall, but the design used on them is identical to that of all the other interior doors in the house. They have two longer vertical panels above one horizontal panel and two shorter vertical panels at the bottom. The dining room also has two tall windows in its west wall, and from here a door in the east wall opens onto the back porch and another out of the back (north) wall.
In later years, when Mrs. Striegler's frail health did not permit her climbing the stairs, she had a bathroom constructed behind the dining room, and she slept on a bed she moved into the dining room.
The front entryway is impressive in its use of glass and scrollwork on the door and windowlights alongside it. The door has a large oval glass pane in it, with wood scrollwork in each corner of the wood panel that holds it in place. The transom above the door has two oval glass panes in it, and the glass panes of the side windowlights are also oval in shape with scrollwork at the top and bottom.
The entryway leads into the hall. Next to that is the large room the Strieglers used as their kitchen. It was a very pleasant, airy room with two tall windows opening onto the porch, another one in the side (east) wall, and a window and door in the back (north) wall.
The steps to the second floor lead out of the front hall, with a landing in front of a large double window. Here a storage closet was added on the level of the landing at the foot of the rest of the steps that end right at the doorway to the bedroom in the east wing.
This bedroom was usually occupied by the Strieglers' “dienstmaedchen” (working girl). The door and window arrangements are duplicates of those in the kitchen below it.
The second floor hall has a plainer door with oval glass pane. A solid wood door opens onto the back porch.
The large front bedroom was occupied by the couple's son, Kermit. It has two tall windows in the front (south) wall and two like it in the side (west) wall. There's also a window and door that open onto the second floor porch.
Mr. and Mrs. Striegler used as their bedroom the one behind their son's room. Though smaller in size, it had the advantage of being next to the bathroom. There are two tall windows in the west wall.
The original bathroom was a long room across the back of the west wing, with a tall window in the side (west) wall and another in the back (north) wall. The large roomy closet is still there, although the present owners have put in a partition wall in this room, providing a small restroom at the far west end so the rest of the room can be used to display antiques and collectibles. A door from the bathroom also opened onto the back porch.
The beaded ceilings remain in the house. The Carters added an additional cove moulding in the former dining room. The cove molding in the former living room is of plaster with pressed design similar to the styles of old-time picture frames.
Adding a distinctive touch to the house are the round wood columns and balustrades on the two front porches. Shorter, narrower balusters are used along the top line of the porches. The smaller back porch has narrower, turned posts with gingerbread trim at top and a railing.
The Strieglers screened the front porch on the second floor and used this as a sleeping porch during their younger years. The screen framing was placed behind the balustrades, so it was not very conspicuous. Louvered wood shutters were used on all the windows.
A genteel life was led by the family in this lovely old home. Mr. Striegler was one of the city's progressive businessmen. He received a degree at Sam Houston Normal in 1896, and was graduated from the University of Texas with a B.S. Degree. He taught science at Temple High School for two years, and then pursued a postgraduate course in pharmacy at the University of Chicago. Returning to Fredericksburg, he went into partnership with L.C. Gibson in a business known as Central Drug Store. He followed this profession for 12 years, and then sold out his interest in the firm, however, he retained ownership of the building, and it remained in the family until his daughter-in-law and granddaughter sold it early in 1979.
He was a co-founder of Loan and abstract Company, and bought the Priess Building that was erected in 1914, but which is still known to many today as “the Striegler Building.” He was an officer of the committee that brought the railroad to Fredericksburg in 1913, and was a 32nd degree Mason, Shriner, belonged to the Order of the Eastern Star, served on the school board, worked with the Chamber of Commerce, was one of the early members of the Lions Club, and served on the Bethany Lutheran Church Council.
Mrs. Striegler was also active in the OES, Bethany Ladies Aid, civic work and social organizations, however, she is best remembered for her work with the Parent-Teacher Association's famed “Fredericksburg Home Kitchen Cook Book.” She was co-editor of the first six editions, and the third and sixth editions were dedicated to her. The 12th edition was published in 1978. She also compiled and published a complete Striegler family history.
Death, however, came to Mr. Striegler almost in the prime of his life. He died at age 61 on November 10, 1934, leaving his wife and their only child, Kermit, as his survivors. Mrs. Stiegler continued to make her home here until her death February 5, 1963. For many years a companion lived here with her, occuping rooms on the second floor.
Their son had married the former Suzanne Klier December 6, 1930, and they had one daughter, JoAnn. The Kermit Strieglers sold this house to Wade Bazemore on July 22, 1965. Bazemore was trying to buy up all the property in this block that adjoined the old Nimitz Hotel property which was in the process of being developed as a museum. He planned to put a motel and shopping center in this block, but his venture ended in bankruptcy. Fortunately, this house and another old building he bought which adjoined it had not been demolished. Ownership of the Striegler home passed to A. L. Myrick.
First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Austin bouht the Striegler home from Myrick on August 25, 1975, and the old Wahrmund millinery store-bakery building next to it from Arthur Stehling on the same date.
First Federal at first did some repair work and renovation on the Striegler home, disturbing nothing of is basic structural lines. They used the street floor for their Fredericksburg branch office which opened here January 2, 1976. In the meantime, they did some painstaking restoration work on the store-bakery building next to it and when it was finished, they moved their offices there in March 1977.
When First Federal bought the Striegler home, Mrs. Kermit Striegler gave them the little boy fountain figure that had stood in the lily pond in the front yard. The Strieglers had placed this there when their son was born. The association rebuilt the pond and fountain, placing a plaque on it dedicating it to the memory of Kermit Striegler who died November 24, 1975.
First Federal sold the Striegler home to the Carters on August 18, 1977, and the young couple began work on adapting it to their use. They added a new standing seam tinner's roof, and renovated the second floor which First Federal had left relatively untouched. Their plans for the Striegler home after they had moved out of it were to sell it to a buyer that they felt would preserve the building and utilize it for a purpose in keeping with the heritage it represented.
Mrs. Carter, who operates her business, “Jabberwocky,” in the old house fits the role of the occupant they were seeking perfectly because she handles only high quality merchandise, all artistically displayed throughout the entire house.
Now the Striegler home continues to add dignity and importance to the architectural charm of Fredericksburg.
Kowert, Elise. Historic Homes In And Around Fredericksburg. Fredericksburg Pub. Co., January 1, 1980