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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 offices.

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 (http://www.arborhouse.com/)