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Discover Fine Victorian Architecture at Koehler Cultural Center

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The Koehler Cultural Center is a 12,655 square foot, donated mansion. It’s located on the campus of San Antonio College, and it was gifted to enhance education in the fine arts. Currently home to the ceramics, art metals, and jewelry design studios of the Visual Arts and Technology Department, it is utilized as a meeting and event spot. It’s also recognized by the Texas State Historical Commission as a Texas historical landmark. Geocachers and Waymarkers may find this site at N 29° 26.936 W 098° 29.818, 14R E 548782 N 3257830.

Commissioned by Otto Koehler, the house was designed by Carol von Seutter and built between 1901 and 1902. A Victorian-style structure, the Cultural Center follows the then-prevalent flair of eclecticism architecture. As the story goes, the location of the mansion was chosen by Koehler per its unhindered view of his brewery, which was particularly helpful in seeing the smokestacks burn color, therefore judging if employees were hard at work.

Discover Fine Victorian Architecture at Koehler Cultural Center

Photo: @medley_of_photography via Twenty20

Born during 1855 in Germany, Otto Koehler immigrated to the U.S. in 1872, first settling in St. Louis and working for a firm of Griesedieck Brothers Brewers. After then moving to San Antonio in 1884, Otto Koehler became an organizer of the San Antonio Brewing Association (City Brewery), now known as Pearl Brewing Company. Otto Koehler was an executive in 15 corporations, and organized a Mexican rubber factory and two mining operations. He was also the principal owner of the famed Hot Wells Resort.

After he was murdered by a mistress in 1914, his wife Emma took over as CEO of Pearl Brewing Company for nearly 20 years, successfully navigating the company through Prohibition. Otto Koehler’s nephew, also named Otto Koehler, who had grown up with the couple, took over brewery operations, as well as ownership of the mansion alongside with his wife, Marcia. In 1971, the mansion was deeded to the College as prearranged per Emma, nephew Otto, and the College. Check their website to see when the Koehler Cultural Center is open next for visitors!