So I’m trying to get ready for the big San Antonio hoo-ha next week. I’ve already done just about everything I can think of that’s Howard-related in Alamo-town, but I still need to take care of a little business on Thursday morning before hitting the convention center, and, since I’ll be out and about, I figured I should probably get a picture of the former home of Allen M. and Florence Blackburn. Who are they? Here’s de Camp in Dark Valley Destiny:
Bob and Truett rode to Brady, where they changed to the bus that ran from San Angelo to San Antonio, with a stop for lunch at Fredericksburg. They stayed for several days with Mrs. Howard’s friends the Allen M. Blackburns in San Antonio. Bob enjoyed his first sight of this most picturesque of all Texan cities, through which runs a channeled stream whose banks are always decked out as if for a fiesta. The boys attended movies and prizefights, one of the latter being an open-air affair in the city and the other held in Fort Sam Houston. Save when Mr. Blackburn gave them a tour of the city in his Ford, they got around town by streetcar.
Now, where de Camp got this information isn’t mentioned; there’s no footnote or other attribution. I’d guess it came from Vinson himself; after all, he is listed as one of many people who “contributed enormously in rounding out this picture of the Howard family and the world in which they lived.” Anyway, any friend of Hester’s is worth looking into, and if Bob Howard stayed there, I want a picture.
I haven’t done all that much looking for the Blackburns, but here’s what I know. Florence Antoinette Underwood was born in Mississippi in 1859 and moved to Texas with her family in 1869. She landed in Bexar County around 1911 (and the Howards spent some time there in 1910, hmm). In 1913 she married James Smith Tisdale, who died four years later, October 20, 1917. The 1918 city directory lists Florence as a widow, still living in the house at 217 Warwick Blvd. that she shared with her husband.
Allen M. Blackburn was born on January 27, 1859, in Illinois. He married Mary Jane Doke in Indiana in 1883. The couple had two children before Mary Jane died, February 17, 1902 in Mobile, Alabama. Mr. Blackburn drops off the record for a decade, but reappears in the 1913 San Antonio city directory, living on S Flores Street and working as a painter. The 1922 directory has him “retired” and living on West Commerce. Florence is still at 217 Warwick. Things are a bit different in the 1924 directory: there is no listing for Florence, but Allen is listed as a “paperhanger” at her address, 217 Warwick. The 1926 directory has them both sharing the address, as well as Allen’s last name. They lived in that house well into the 1930s. Florence died in 1938 and Allen died ten years later.
With the address in hand, I did a Google Earth search and found nothing. Warwick Blvd. doesn’t exist anymore. So I searched around until I found a Sanborn map of San Antonio from 1912. It doesn’t have that address, the house wasn’t built yet, but it shows the location of Warwick Blvd. in relation to other streets. Using this, I was able to determine that Warwick Blvd. is now East Highland Blvd. And with that information, I went back to Google Earth. Unfortunately, Kent Pl. and everything east of it now lies buried under the massive intersection of Interstate Highways 10 and 37. The “street view” does show some fine old houses, though, but none that I need a picture of. So, one less stop for me to make on Thursday. I hate it when that happens.