J.E. Travis Painting, Inc. carries forward a long family business tradition centered in the painting industry. This family association dates back to the 1800’s when James A. Travis was employed by the railroads to go through the countryside painting bridges, depots, and section houses. In 1885 he moved to Lampasas, Texas, and in 1886 he started his own paint contracting business. After five years he moved to Wharton, Texas and continued his contracting only to find misfortune when the Galveston storm of 1900 completely wiped out his business.
A history picture of James Albert Travis in Wharton, Texas

1901 – The Family Works Hard

In 1901 he moved his family to Bryan and contracted there for three years. In 1904 James Travis, his wife, Barbara, and their five children moved to San Marcos where he operated a retail store and his contracting business. It was here that two more children were born.
A new generation begins – In 1916 James sold the business to two of his sons, Charles and Leon E. (Ed). This partnership dissolved in 1917 when Ed joined the Army and served overseas for eighteen months. After his discharge from the service he and his wife, Mary Lou, settled in San Antonio where he worked in the painting trade until 1927. It was then that he started his own contracting firm under the name L.E. Travis.
WALL PAPER! J. A. Travis, at the Whit Mitchell old place will sell you enough wall paper, including border, for 30¢ per room and up; or will hang wall paper bought of him from 1 cent to ten cents per roll. All work guaranteed. J. A. Travis History
J. A. Travis Blacksmith and Wheelwright. All kinds of of machinery. Repaired. Sewing.

1945 – A father teaches sons

In 1945 L.E. Travis, Sr. took in his two sons, Leon Edward Travis, Jr. and Milton Earl. The company name was changed to L.E. (Ed) Travis & Sons. The office was on Third Street. In 1947 the office and warehouse was moved to Melrose Place. Ed Travis, Sr. retired from the business in 1949leaving it with his two sons who operated together until 1952 when the business was sold to Leon E. Travis, Jr.

1955 – A Third Generation

L.E. Travis, Jr. incorporated the firm in 1959 and in 1966 moved the office to Haby Drive. Throughout the sixties and seventies L.E. Travis & Sons, Inc. made great strides in adding to the quantity and quality of painted projects in South Texas; projects as recognizable as the interior of the State Capital in Austin, the Memorial Stadium in Austin, the Rudder Tower, Zachry Engineering building, and Oceanography Tower all in College Station. The University of Texas at San Antonio complex, Hemisfair, and numerous hotels are all past accomplishments.
San Antonio in the 1900s. Picture from the history of San Antonio
History Image of L.E. Travis, Jr painting.

1970 – A Fourth Generation

In the decade of the 1970’s L.E. Travis, Jr. saw his three sons: Leon E., Ronald A. and William B. (all great-grandsons of J.A. Travis) enter the firm. In 1977 Leon E. Travis, III assumed the presidency of the firm and has operated it to the present time. William B. Travis assumed the presidency of Ace Cleaning Co., Inc. a sandblasting and industrial painting firm that was begun back in 1939 as a preparatory method to aid the painting firm. Ace Cleaning Co. was incorporated in 1977. In 1978 a major advancement in abrasive blasting and coating occurred when Ace Cleaning Co., Inc. opened an indoor blasting and coating facility at 3400 Nacogdoches Road. This facility grew over the years and became Travis Abrasive Blasting and Coating, Inc, and Travis Industries, Inc. In 2001, Carlton Catalani, William B.’s stepson, became president of Travis Industries, Inc. and continues to serve the industrial painting trade. In 1975, Ronald A. Travis began a new venture in the family tradition named R.A. Travis Painting, Inc. It was felt that there existed a need for a “quality” merit shop painting firm to complement the union shop of L.E. Travis & Sons, Inc. The office was on Basse Road. In 1977 the growing firm incorporated and the name was changed to R.A. Travis Painting, Inc. Ronald continued to serve the Central and South Texas community for thirty-one years, until his retirement in 2006.

1998 – A Time of Change

In 1998, years after promising that he would never enter the family painting business, John Edward Travis, Ronald’s oldest son, moved back to San Antonio and started his own painting firm, J.E. Travis Painting, Inc., working out of a horse stall in a barn in Bracken, Texas. Over time the firm grew, and moved into San Antonio. In 2002 John started a sister firm, Travis Millwork, Inc., specializing in commercial casework and millwork. In 2010 the firms purchased additional equipment and started manufacturing and marketing architectural stile and rail wood doors and frames under the brand Vision Openings. All divisions now operate out of a 38,000 square foot complex of buildings in an industrial park off Turbo Drive. This facility includes manufacturing space and equipment for solid wood and engineered products, counter-tops and a finishing shop, as well as shipping and receiving, storage, and maintenance areas.
Picture of painters working on stencils in downtown San Antonio, Texas.
Travis Painting Since 1886

From 1886 to Tomorrow

J.E. Travis Painting, Inc. and Travis Millwork, Inc. believe the future is bright as long as we continue to provide competitive, premium products and services, without hassle, in a timely fashion. Doing this, day in and day out, consistently and repetitively, provides us the opportunity to build great projects that bring joy to our customers, develop relationships both internally and externally that enrich our lives, provide a challenging environment for our team, and strengthen our firms to weather the storms of life and provide stability and growth for our family of employees. This formula has allowed five generations of Travis’s to serve the community, and we look forward to another hundred years of service. 


See a portfolio of the many projects we’ve completed for both Travis Millwork and J.E. Travis Painting.

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