While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Donald E. Everett
The Steves Homestead
Photograph, The Steves Homestead. Image courtesy of the San Antonio Conservation Society. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Edward Steves
Photograph, Portrait of Edward Steves. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Alfred Giles
Photograph, Portrait of Alfred Giles from 1898. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

STEVES HOMESTEAD. The Steves Homestead, the home of San Antonio lumberman Edward Steves, symbolized the success of a German immigrant in frontier Texas. The house on King William Street was completed in 1877 for $15,000 and described as a "magnificent structure . . . which could not be duplicated for $25,000." The city's leading lumberman chose limestone quarried "at the head of the river" for his building material. Architectural plans for the homestead are most frequently attributed to Alfred Giles, then in the employ of John H. Kampmann, a close friend of Steves. Just who actually drew the plans is conjectural. Newspaper accounts focused on mason Anthony Earhart, praised then and in recent years for his excellent workmanship-he called it "peck work"-on this hard rock structure. Exterior stone walls on surfaces besides those in the front were later stuccoed. Twentieth-century observers generally describe the house as Victorian, but some see a strong Gothic influence in its L-shaped plan, in the quatrefoil motif of the decorative work in the spandrels of the arches, and in its interior arrangements. French influence is apparent in its mansard roof. The round-picket fence, which still borders the spacious grounds on two street sides, is constructed of cypress four feet in height and put together with pegs rather than nails. Plants on the property have varied, but none has provided such an attraction as the wild mustang grapevine did in 1913. An artesian well drilled in 1905 provided water for the garden and the natatorium built in 1913. A hallway bisects the two main floors of the homestead. A parlor, sitting room, dining room, conservatory, kitchen, and office are located on the first floor. Four bedrooms and servants' quarters are on the second floor, and the unfinished third floor provided space for billiards, cards, or dancing on festive occasions. Eventually, ownership of the Steves Homestead passed to a granddaughter, Edna, and her husband, Curtis T. Vaughan. The Vaughans made a gift of the property to the San Antonio Conservation Society in 1952. The Steves Homestead is located in the King William Historic District and is on the National Register of Historic Places.


Mary C. H. Jutson, Alfred Giles: An English Architect in Texas and Mexico (San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 1972). Cecilia Steinfeldt, San Antonio Was (San Antonio Museum Association, 1978).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Donald E. Everett, "STEVES HOMESTEAD," accessed July 11, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ggs03.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on May 10, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...