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File #: 21-1049    Name:
Type: Recommendation Status: Individual Item Ready
File created: 10/6/2021 In control: Historic Landmark Commission
On agenda: 10/12/2021 Final action:
Title: HST21-353 Consideration of a Certificate of Alteration for the demolition of a circa 1935 detached garage and replacement of 2 non-historic metal windows at 123 S. Academy Ave within the Downtown Historic District.
Attachments: 1. Location Map, 2. Application, 3. Staff Photos, 4. Submittal Documents, 5. Supplemental Documents, 6. Sec. 66-58 Criteria for Approval of Alt Cert
Date Ver.Action ByActionResultAction DetailsMeeting DetailsVideo
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PRESENTER: Presenter

Caleb Chance Gasparek

Historic Preservation Officer



HST21-353 Consideration of a Certificate of Alteration for the demolition of a circa 1935 detached garage and replacement of 2 non-historic metal windows at 123 S. Academy Ave within the Downtown Historic District.


DEPARTMENT: Planning & Development Services





The applicant is a requesting a Certificate of Alteration to demolish the circa 1935 shed in the rear of the lot and to replace 2 non-historic metal windows on the right side (east) elevation.


The applicant previously received administrative approval to remove the 1) remove the existing vinyl siding, 2) paint the restored wooden siding, and to 3) paint the fascia.


The applicant has indicated that the shed in the rear is in poor condition and in danger of collapsing. The 2 metal windows proposed to be replaced are of non-historic age and were likely installed sometime in the 1970’s. The location of the exterior windows aligns with the bathroom of the interior; the applicant has indicated they would like to replace them with more appropriate moisture-resistant windows. 



The property is primarily associated with the Heidemeyer and Jahn families of New Braunfels. The lot on which 123 S. Academy sits was originally given to first founder Wilhelm Kracke, though he died shortly after arriving in 1845. Deed records suggest that the Heidemeyer family purchased the lots along Academy Ave. between San Antonio and W. Cross St. shortly after Kracke’s death.


Johann Friedrich Heidemeyer was one of the first founders who arrived in New Braunfels in 1845. Shortly after arriving he married Lisette Kraft. Johann primarily ran a saddlery business, though he would also serve as an alderman on the first city council. During the Civil War he served as a captain of the Comal County militia. The couple had a total of 10 children.


Sometime in the 1870’s the lot was gifted to Johann and Lisette’s son Ernst. Ernst owned the property until 1887, during this time Johann passed away in 1886. A year later in 1887 the property was gifted back to Lisette. Lisette then gifted the property to another son, Walter, in 1901. Lissette died a few years later in 1904.


Walter and Alwine Heidemeyer owned the property until 1925 when it was gifted to their daughter Valeske and her husband Paul W. Jahn. Paul was the grandson of another founder, Johann Michael Jahn, who was a noted furniture maker in New Braunfels. A building permit from 1935 indicates that the existing house was moved on site for the price of $3,500.


Paul’s accomplishments including serving as the chairman of the 100th anniversary celebration, president of the Lions Club, president of the First Protestant United Church, and two consecutive terms as the Chamber of Commerce President. He was also instrumental in creating the Edwards Underground Water District.


The property then passed down to Alwin and Valeska Heidemeyer in 1943. Alwin and Valeska owned the property until 1965 when it gifted to Cyril and Ruth Alice Heitkamp nee Jahn. Ruth was the great-granddaughter of Johann Michael Jahn. Ruth served on the Comal County Historical Commission, the Conservation Society, and the Comal County Tuberculosis Association. She owned the property until her death in 2020.



A Certificate of Alteration is required for any alteration to a landmarked property or a property within a local historic district.



Approval of a Certificate of Alteration waives all permit fees associated with the building permit.



Staff recommends approval of the Certificate of Alteration based on criteria 1, 6, and 9 of Chapter 66-58 Criteria for approval of an alteration certificate.


1) Every reasonable effort shall be made to adapt the property in a manner which requires minimal alteration of the building, structure, object, or site and its environment.


While Sanborn maps suggest that parts of the accessory garage are of historic age, it appears to have been modified several times. Additionally, photo evidence suggests termite damage, warping, and extensive rotting of wood. Demolition of the garage is a reasonable request given the applicants willingness to bring the main structure back to a more historic setting.


6) Deteriorated architectural features shall be repaired rather than replaced, wherever possible. In the event replacement is necessary, the new material shall reflect the material being replaced in composition, design, color, texture, and other visual qualities. Repair or replacement of missing architectural features should be based on accurate duplications of features, substantiated by historical, physical, or pictorial evidence rather than on conjectural designs or the availability of different architectural elements from other buildings or structures.


Replacement of the non-historic windows should be of a compatible design and material and should not detract from the overall character of the building.


9) Contemporary design for alterations and additions to existing properties shall not be discouraged when such alterations and additions do not destroy significant historical, architectural, or cultural material, and such design is compatible with the size, scale, color, material, and character of the property, neighborhood, or environment.


Replacement of the non-historic windows will not detract from the overall character of the building. Additionally, the demolition of the garage is only secondary to the preservation of the main structure.



A.                     Location Map

B.                     Application

C.                     Staff Photos

D.                     Submittal Documents

E.                     Supplemental Documents

F.                     Sec. 66-58 Criteria for Approval of an Alteration Certificate