The largest of the Italianate-style houses in the neighborhood with its high-quality limestone masonry was built for German immigrant and hardware merchant Russell C. Norton. In c. 1881 the two-story front porches and a rear wing were added by the house's second owner, rancher Edward Polk. According to a rendering of the house by Augustus Koch, in his Bird's Eye View of the City of San Antonio (1873), the Second Empire three-story tower was not present; it is believed it was added during a c. 1891 remodeling, along with a second-story addition to the rear wing. Afterward there was a succession of owners until 1967, when Walter N. Mathis purchased the residence and renamed it “Villa Finale.” Mathis, famed locally for his art collections, restored thirteen other residences in the King William District. Upon his death in 2005, Villa Finale was donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation as the first National Trust Historic site in Texas. Restoration was completed in 2010 and the house opened to the public.
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Norton-Polk-Mathis House, “Villa Finale”
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