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Another in my Plantation/Estate series - nearing the end for the time being - this beautiful mansion graces the King William district of historic San Antonio, Texas. Villa Finale, the first and only National Trust Historic Site in Texas, opened to the general public for the first time on October 2, 2010.
Construction began on the Italianate mansion now known as Villa Finale in 1876. It was a part of the then-thriving King William neighborhood, originally settled mostly by German immigrant families, many of whom became prosperous as merchants and bankers. By 1967, when Walter Nold Mathis bought the home, it was a rooming house and, like the neighborhood surrounding it, had settled into a decline. Mathis spent eighteen months restoring the home, and after the exhaustive work was done, he dubbed the house Villa Finale - his last home. In 2004, Mathis gave the 1876 home and his extensive collections to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, so the home could become the first National Trust Historic Site in Texas.
Walter Nold Mathis was a leading preservationist and businessman in San Antonio, Texas. An advocate for city and statewide historic preservation, Mathis was also a civic and cultural leader and a member of one of San Antonio's original founding families with roots reaching back to the Canary Island settlers of 1731. Although Villa Finale was Mathis' last personal residence, it wasn't the last house he owned; he purchased another fourteen houses in King William and invested his own time and money to undertake essential preservation work on them before selling them to individuals who would continue their restoration. Mathis is widely recognized as the catalyst for the revitalization of the King William National Historic District.
Villa Finale is overflowing with Mathis' 12,500 piece collection which includes distinctive examples of European furniture, ceramics, silver, and fine art. Mathis particularly enjoyed collecting memorabilia surrounding the life and death of Napoleon Bonaparte. The collection also includes a number of prominent Texas artists such as Mary Bonner, and Julian and Robert Onderdonk. Additionally, there is a wide range of Texas decorative arts, such as Bell silver, Texas furniture, and Texian campaign ceramics.
Derivative digital painting based on an image in the public domain
Copyright - MCN :: CDE12-9LN34-P145B
June 17th, 2012
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