Arbor House celebrates 110 year milestone
QSanAntonio.com, January 3, 2013
The Arbor House Suites, San Antonio's only gay-owned bed and breakfast,
is celebrating the 110th anniversary of the construction of the four two-story
Queen Ann Colonial Revival houses located on its property.
According to owner Ron Stinson, the homes were built in 1903 and 1904
by Carl Frey, a Swiss immigrant and skilled cabinetmaker. The houses were
occupied by German families who attended the historic St. John's Lutheran
Church across South Presa Street.
Tucked away at the corner of South Presa and Arcinega Streets, the Arbor
House buildings have flat or low-hipped roofs and upper and lower galleries
as was the fashion of the time.
Through the years the once substantial single family structures were broken
up into apartments, neglected and fell into disrepair.
In 1978, they were purchased by Jack and Loretta Castle of Houston. The
Castles transformed the quartet of run down homes into eye catching downtown
Loretta Castle's restoration team included the architect De Lara-Almond,
landscape architect L.A. De Martino Jr., and interior designer Herbert
Wells. The group restored the homes to an improved state beyond their
original charm. This project was completed in 1984.
In 1985, the San Antonio Conservation Society honored the
restoration project with an award.
In 1995, the homes were converted into a bed and breakfast and became
known as the Arbor House. The property was purchased in 2002 by Stinson
who continued the restoration work.
There are seven suites at the Arbor House. Each has a sitting room, a
spacious bedroom a small kitchenette and bath. The grounds are beautifully
landscaped and the garden area often plays host to cocktail parties and
al fresco dining for guests.
On New Year's Eve, Stinson hosted a party for past guests and local friends
to mark the anniversary of the hotel's vintage buildings.
Arbor House has been featured in Southern Living Magazine and most recently
in the July 2013 Texas Highways Magazine. The ambiance is warm and simple,
a pleasure to experience.
Stinson points out that guests enjoy the spirit of Old San Antonio preserved
at his bed and breakfast because it’s different than staying at
a chain hotel. Indeed, the unique charm of the Arbor House and it's location
in the heart of downtown make it one of the city's architectural treasures.
Arbor House Suites, 109 Arciniega, San Antonio, Texas 78205, 210-472-2005