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.