"Boss" Peterson left the family ranch at 15 years old to work at Mr.
Weston's garage at the corner of Water Street and Sidney Baker in
the time Boss was 18, he and his brother Charlie owned the place.
The Peterson Garage and Auto Company became the cornerstone of a family
Sid "Cap" Peterson, Hal and Charlie's father, broke horses on the
Schreiner Ranch and drove cattle to Kansas. By the turn of the 20th
century Cap owned a sizeable ranch west of Kerrville.
Cap's oldest son Hal, born in 1899, was a cagey horse trader and a
natural businessman. Sid said Hal was "born serious." Family legend
says Hal skipped childhood altogether. Sid nicknamed Hal "Boss" before
Hal was in long britches.
Although Boss had a number of health issues, including a serious heart
ailment he shared with his father and brother, he had the restless
energy of 3 men. He hit the ground running every morning. He did not
believe he had long to live so he was in a hurry. He had a lot of
deals to make before his ticker conked out.
While Boss was impulsive, brother Charlie was quiet and easy-going.
The brothers were perfect business partners. They complemented each
other. Boss needed Charlie so Boss wouldn't go off half-cocked.
Not long after buying Mr. Weston's garage, Boss bought a Buick franchise.
By 1925 the Peterson Garage and Auto Company sold Buicks, Chevys,
Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs and Cadillacs, becoming one of the few dealerships
to have all GM products under one roof.
Hal and Charlie Peterson Foundation
| As Kerrville
grew, Boss noticed that people needed transportation to San
Antonio for medical services and shopping. Boss bought 3 stretched
Buicks and began ferrying passengers between Kerrville and the Alamo
In 1924 Boss took the next step and launched Kerrville Bus Company
- one of the first scheduled bus lines in West Texas. By 1939 KBC
was the 3rd largest bus company in Texas.
Boss and Charlie had a variety of investments. A business they owned
called the West Texas Auto Company tested tires on Hill Country roads.
The brothers were part owners in KERV Radio. They were in the wool
and mohair business, the photography business and the petroleum transportation
business. By the end of WWII
they were wealthy men.
|L - Boss Peterson
R - Charlie Peterson
Hal and Charlie Peterson Foundation
Sid "Cap" Peterson's health began to fail he spent a lot of time at
the Nix Hospital in San
Antonio. Kerrville had a hospital, but it was too small for adequate
treatment. When Cap died of heart disease in 1939 his sons vowed that
would have a first-class hospital of its own.
It was a big dream, even for Boss Peterson. Almost no one gave it
a chance. Only Boss and Charlie believed.
To build the hospital and support it after it opened, Boss and Charlie
started the Hal and Charlie Peterson Foundation. Boss contributed
the first $100 in 1944. By 1948 the foundation had $700,000 in assets
- mostly cash contributions from Hal and Charlie and the Kerrville
Bus Company, and the hospital was under construction.
Built solely with funds from the Hal and Charlie Peterson Foundation
and private donations, Sid Peterson Hospital opened its doors in 1949.
It was Boss and Charlie's gift to their community.
Boss believed the hospital needed a source of income other than patient
fees, so the first floors of Sid Peterson Hospital offered office
space for lease. The ground floor had an 11-pump gas station. The
concept drew attention from all over the world. Time Magazine
did a feature on it.
Sid Peterson was the first hospital in the nation to have an intercom
system connecting each patient to a nurse's station. It was the first
hospital to have central air-conditioning although Boss had to do
some serious arm-twisting to find an air-conditioning contractor willing
to bid on an 88,000 sq. ft. building.
Today the Hal and Charlie Peterson Foundation has $60 million in assets.
Between 1944 and 2000 it gave away $96 million - that's $281 million
adjusted to inflation. It plans to give away another $3 million in