Heritage, Volume 7, Number 1, Winter 1989 Page: 17
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interest in the D'Hanis brick company. But
more importantly he had what he needed
for his thriving contracting business-a
steady supply of high quality brick.
D'Hanis brick after this was widely used
in the San Antonio, and "D'Hanis brick or
its equal" became a common architectural
specification. San Antonio architect
O'Neil Ford used this brick in many of his
designs, which helped to spread its fame.
The brick plant continues to operate today,
and its brick can be found in just about
every town in Texas.
Birkner's contracting business continued
to grow, and he had simultaneous projects
going on in several places. He put up
many buildings in San Antonio and built
schools in Sabinal, Uvalde and even as far
Birkner built the unique
high school in Uvalde,
Texas, pictured below.
Unfortunately, and over
the protests of the people
who wished to preserve
it, the building has been
west as Del Rio. In 1909 he and his brother have to spend a lot of time looking for jobs.
dissolved their partnership, and Gus continued
building under his own name. His
sons, whom he trained to be brick masons,
worked with him. During these years of
itinerant building he moved his office and
residence several times, and did some farming
when he could. He built other schools
in D'Hanis, Kyle and Maxwell. Since some
of his projects were as distant as Yoakim,
Falfurrias, Marfa and Giddings, he had to
rely on his sons and trusted employees to
oversee these projects. He also contracted
to build a number of oil plants for the Pierce
According to Birkner's account, despite
the large volume of building he was doing
in the pre-World War I period, he did not
Architects in San Antonio knew his work
and called on him to do estimates, and the
contracts naturally fell to him. People
trusted him to do good work and bill them
honestly. He did a great deal of repeat
business, and he was often authorized to go
ahead with a project without even furnishing
a preliminary estimate.
Another reason for his success would
seem to have been his treatment of his
workmen. When mishaps occurred he took
care of them and their families. He made
every effort to keep men who did good work
in his employ by paying them good wages
and by being fair in his dealing with them.
When the United States entered World
War I in 1917 the volume of Birkner's
HERITAGE * WINTER 1989 17
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 7, Number 1, Winter 1989, periodical, Winter 1988; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45430/m1/17/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.