Stack-stone Barn at the Huebner-Onion Homestead and Stagecoach Stop.
Original homestead structure, later used as the cookhouse, circa 1858.
LEON VALLEY HISTORICAL SOCIETY ISSUED A MATCHING GRANT CHALLENGE
Huebner Descendants Pledge to Help Restore Two-Story Porch and Historic Gravesite
Leon Valley, TX (Oct. 4, 2013) -- Fresh on the heels of the completion of a master plan detailing the future of the historic Huebner-Onion Homestead and Stagecoach Stop, the Leon Valley Historical Society announces it has received a $30,000 one-to-one matching grant challenge. The descendants of Joseph and Caroline Huebner, who built the homestead, have pledged a $30,000 donation conditional on the historical society raising an additional $30,000 for the restoration of both the two-story covered porch and balcony, and the gravesite of Joseph Huebner. This is the first step in implementing the master plan.
"My family and I are vitally interested in supporting the efforts of the Leon Valley Historical Society to restore and renovate the former home of our ancestors," says Douglas H. Barnes, representative of the Huebner descendants. "The historical society's efforts to protect and preserve this piece of our collective history, and their vision to create a museum celebrating early settlers in Bexar County, is praiseworthy. We're happy to be a part of the project."
Barnes' grandfather, George Freeland Henson, was a son of Anna Huebner Henson, the daughter of Caroline and Joseph Huebner. Joseph Huebner was an Austrian jeweler and blacksmith who settled the site in the 1850s and began raising horses, mules and cattle. In 1862, he built the limestone main house that passers-by see today from Bandera Road. He also used his homestead as a stop for travelers headed to or from San Antonio. The stagecoach stop sometimes provided overnight lodging and meals for travelers if the Huebner and Leon Creeks were flooded and impassable.
The Huebner-Onion Homestead is also named for Judge John F. and Harriet Onion, who later owned and lived in the homestead for 53 years.
The historical society plans to meet the Huebner descendants' challenge through fundraising events to be held at the homestead, and through grant requests to area individuals, families, businesses and foundations. The first two fundraising events, Homestead Under The Stars, will be held Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 and Thursday, April 10, 2014, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. on the grounds of the homestead. Tickets are $35 each, and sponsorships also are available.
"This is the day we've been working toward for so long," explains Mark Eisenhauer, Leon Valley Historical Society president. "It took the hard work and dedication of many in our community for years to get us to this point." First, the home and adjacent buildings had to be stabilized to withstand weather and time and be safe from collapse. The home needed a roof. Next, the historical society consulted with park and wildlife experts and created a 36-acre natural area with walking trails adjacent to the home that is part of the original homestead. Finally, historical society members focused on funding the creation of the master plan, which required the expertise of architects who specialize in historic restoration. Ford Powell & Carson and Main Street Architects were selected to create the plan, in consultation with the historical society and the City of Leon Valley.
Says Eisenhauer, "It feels like we've reached a major milestone in our journey to begin this first significant restoration project, but we're really just getting started. We're so grateful to Doug Barnes and the Huebner descendants for helping us take such an important step in our work."
The historical society expects to complete the grant challenge fundraising by spring 2014, and then immediately begin the restoration work.
Individuals interested in donating to the challenge grant or attending one of the upcoming events should contact the Leon Valley Historical Society representatives Kathy Hill, 210-595-8099 or Barbara Fryer, 210-684-0885.