Renovation of a historic building in downtown San Antonio

HSHA Chairman Lori Todd tells MySA that the lower window, which complements the masterpiece designed by Helen Ferne Goolsby Slimp in 1911, was built and installed in 1938. Todd says the glass has been damaged by birds, stones, and hail over the years.

A $10,000 grant from the San Antonio Conservation Society helps the society pay for the $12,000 cost of the restoration. Todd says Hermann Sons was able to pay the difference from donations, mostly collected from pub patrons. A window at the Whitworth Steindglass facility in New Braunfels for repairs.

Crews spent an entire day removing glass from the building on March 23 to take it to the facility. Todd expects the reinstallation to take place within two to three weeks.

“The holes in the window have been around for years,” Todd says. “We are very happy to replace the historic window, and we are very grateful to the Grant Preservation Society.”

The building dates back over 100 years and is home to the Hermann Sons Lodges, the eight chapters of the fraternal order of German immigrants. Hermann Sons Grand Lodge was established on March 27, 1890 and is set on Villetta Street between Navarro and south of Brisa. This building has since been demolished. In 1911, the charter of the San Antonio Hermann Sons Home Association was created and the current 525 S Saint Mary’s Street building was built to house the eight inns and the grand inn. According to the site, the eight groups continue to meet in the House Association building to this date.

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

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

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