DEVINE HISTORICAL COMMITTEE presents early 1900s pictures of west downtown Devine

1900-1905 West VIEW OF DEVINE, TEXAS – College Street is on the right (Howell Brothers burned in Jan. 1905 along with Lion Drug Store on the corner & Morris & Son in the large two-story white building across College St.) The brick millinery, behind the trees, stopped the spread of the fire. The fire originated at the two-story Morris & Son grocery across from the drug store after hours on Jan 9, 1905.) *The school building in the top, back right was moved to that location about 1890 & a new brick school was built there in 1905 – 06.

When researching the history of Devine online, we tend to come across more & more random pictures, much to our delight; but they also raise more questions and mysteries! What is this picture of and when was it taken? Sometimes you think you know what it is, but sometimes things are not as obvious at first as you might think. But if you look close enough, there are usually many clues to help you. And that is what we did at last week’s meeting of the Devine Historical Committee!
Take these two pictures, for example: These are two separate pictures that were found online at two different sites, about two years apart, and were two different colors. Once the pictures were side-by-side & the same color, it became clear that these pictures are of the same area and the same street, but what CLUES would we find to determine the exact location, date, and other facts – and where do we look?
Clues: 1. Both pictures were posted online as being early 1900s downtown Devine, so that was the first clue! 2. Old city maps helped determine that the drug store building was on the corner of what is now College St. & Commercial where Bon Café is today! 3. Old maps also showed the wooden schoolhouse in the top of the picture that was moved to that site in 1890. It was later replaced with a two-story red brick school in 1905. (That is where the VFW is located now) 4. Across the street from the schoolhouse was the St. Joseph’s Catholic wooden church which was built in 1897 & the two-story Catholic school was built in 1900. So, that dates the picture to 1900 or after. 5. And finally a January 1905 article in the San Antonio Express online archives described a huge fire in Devine that put all this information together. The fire was extensive and destroyed several businesses on the main street west of the railroad tracks, including the drug store and Howell Bros, so we know this picture was pre-Jan. 1905.
This sound pretty simple, but it took many hours of research, lots of luck, & 4-5 of us at a Devine Historical Committee meeting to figure this out! But it was a lot of fun! This is a small sampling of what our historical group does, and you are welcome to join us at any of our meetings, join our Facebook group, or call us if you have any questions, or have stories or pictures to share. This committee is for anyone interested in learning about the history of Devine.

  • For more information, contact Nancy Ehlinger Saathoff at or 210-289-6205. If you call & do not get an answer, please text for a call back. The next meeting will be around mid-October, so check The Devine News & our FB page for the date & location.

Devine Historical Committee:
Downtown Historic Buildings – College Street – The TEXAS MARKET

Texas Market picture on College Street taken from 1949 Devine Corral Yearbook.

Solving a mystery & finding history can be a simple as looking at an ad in the back of a 1949 Devine Corral yearbook! The TEXAS MARKET was a popular store in downtown Devine in the 1930s-1950s, along with Loggins & Lilly, and Schott’s Red & White, – all on the same street! In fact, the building it was in is still standing and being remodeled on the historical downtown College Street!
Steve told about his great uncle, Arturo Gutierrez, at the Texas Market store as well as other members of his mother’s side of the family who were local grocers. The well-known Gutierrez families were instrumental in serving the Devine community for years in their grocery stores – Gutierrez-Chapa Grocery (where Viva Zapata is now) owned by his granddad Pedro “Pete” Gutierrez & Aunt Hortencia Gutierrez Chapa; The Texas Market; the original Independent Grocery owned by Clemente Gutierrez where Steve worked as a stocker; followed by the second, larger Independent Grocery owned by Roberto Gutierrez. Both Independent Grocery stores can still be seen on FM 3176 near Hester Ave. When shopping in Devine you could always depend on a friendly face and a fair price when shopping in their stores! More stories & information about these grocery stores and others in Devine will be included in later articles in The Devine News.

The Adams National Bank builidng in 1908 shown above is still standing and provides residence for local families. Notice the large oak tree is still there in both pictures!

Devine History….City budgets 1940 v 2016

We found a copy of this City Budget from the year 1939-1940 in our old files, and thought you’d enjoy!  Compare it to more recent financial trends in 2016.

A lot changes in 60 years….Administrative expenses, for example, went from $300 in 1940 to over $319,000 in 2016.

Here is the 1939-1940 City of Devine Budget


Here is a summary of some of the City’s expenses over the past 5 years, from one of their Financial Trends reports: