ANSWERS TO GO with Susan Smith

Q. As I waited for the traffic light to change at Hopkins and Guadalupe, I noticed an old two-story building across the street with the word ‘Simon’ in the brickwork across the top. Who was Simon? What type of business occupied that space?

A. Our source for the answer to this question is “National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form” from the early 1980s. You can see these lengthy histories of many old businesses and homes in our copy of the 1983 “Historic Resources of San Marcos.”

Entries for individual homes and commercial buildings may also be read online by clicking on links found in our online public access catalog. In this case, search for “Simon building.”

The following is an excerpt from that Simon Building application as submitted to the U.S. National Park Service: “A simple, rectangular, white-plaster, commercial structure, the Simon Building presents a facade subtly detailed with contrasting reddish-brown brickwork at its cornice and parapet.

“Within a bricked frame appears the word ‘Simon’ and the date ‘1923.’ The building’s division into two distinct but matching halves reveals its construction in two phases: the entire eastern section in 1923, the second floor of the western after 1930. A stair separates the two halves, and a modern, but unobtrusive, canopy spans the entire width.

“Upstairs, there are four apartments, three of which open to the stair landing with French doors. Far from the utilitarian character one would expect, the apartments are finely finished in a restrained, sophisticated style that echoes the Arts and Crafts movement.

“Alex Simon, from nearby Kyle, erected the structure in 1932 for his family business. He had previously built his bakery in Hubbard City, and had owned another San Marcos bakery on what was then Austin Street, now LBJ Street.

“The Simon Bakery was inordinately successful. It operated as a separate bakery until 1980, when it was sold to the present owners who also run a full-service bakery. Alex had worked in the building for sixty years when he retired.

“During the building’s life, it was expanded twice. Shortly after 1930 a second floor was added to the western portion. Apartments for the growing families (children were Alvin, Benno, and Minnie) occupied these spaces.

“Following the purchase of the land in 1945, Simon built a one-story garage addition on the west to house his fleet of trucks, some of which served nearby Camp Gary during World War II. At one point, the bakery occupied the entire lower floor of the building.”

First United Methodist Church now uses the first floor of the Simon Building for their Twice-Blessed Consignment Shop. Funds raised are used to support local charities and to fund special projects for the First United Methodist Church.

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666