A history picture of James Albert Travis in Wharton, Texas

J.E. Travis Painting, Inc. is part of a multi-generation legacy in the painting industry. The family painting trade 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. Five years later, he moved to Wharton, Texas and continued his business – only to find misfortune when the Galveston storm of 1900 completely destroyed his facility.

1901 – The Family Works Hard

After the Galveston storm, James moved his family to Bryan, TX, where he started over as a painting contractor. In 1904 he, his wife, Barbara, and their five children moved to San Marcos where he operated his retail paint store and contracting business for 12 years and had two more children

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.

1916 – The Next Generation Takes On The Business 

In 1916, James sold the business to two of his sons, Charles and Leon Edward (Ed). Their brief partnership was dissolved in 1917 when Ed joined the Army and served overseas for eighteen months. After Ed’s discharge from the service, he and his wife, Mary Lou, settled in San Antonio where he worked in the painting trade for almost 10 years. In 1927, Ed started his own painting firm under the name L.E. (Leon Edward) Travis.

In 1945, Ed’s sons joined the family business. Leon Edward Jr. and Milton Earl worked with their father for four years before his retirement in 1949. During this time the business offices moved from Third Street in downtown San Antonio to Melrose Place in the Olmos Park area. In 1952, the business was sold to Leon Jr.

1955 – The Business Grows

Leon Edward Jr. incorporated the firm in 1959 and in 1966 moved the office to Haby Drive north of Basse Road. Throughout the sixties and seventies, L.E. Travis & Sons, Inc. added significant projects to their portfolio. Projects included the interior of the State Capital in Austin, the Memorial Stadium in Austin, the Rudder Tower, the Zachry Engineering building and Oceanography Tower in College Station, The University of Texas at San Antonio Complex, Hemisfair, Park, and numerous hotels. 

San Antonio in the 1900s. Picture from the history of San Antonio
History Image of L.E. Travis, Jr painting.

1970 – Ventures Multiply

In the 1970s, all three of Leon Jr.’s sons, Leon III, Ronald, and William, joined the business. In 1977, Leon E. Travis, III assumed the presidency of L.E. Travis & Sons, Inc. 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 began in 1939 as a preparatory method to aid L.E. Travis & Sons. Ace Cleaning was incorporated in 1977 and one year later opened an indoor blasting and coating facility at 3400 Nacogdoches Road. This facility grew and became Travis Abrasive Blasting and Coating and Travis Industries. William’s stepson, Carlton Catalani, became president of Travis Industries in 2001 and continues to serve the industrial painting trade.

In 1975, Ronald began a new venture in the family tradition named R.A. Travis Painting, Inc. to provide a high-quality painting firm to complement L.E. Travis & Sons, Inc. Ronald continued to serve the Central and South Texas community for thirty-one years, until his retirement in 2006.

1998 – A Fifth Generation Carries on the Legacy

In 1998, years after promising that he would never enter the family trade, 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. All divisions now operate out of a 67,000 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, metal fabrication, stone counter-tops and a finishing shop, as well as shipping and receiving, training centers and engineering spaces.

Picture of painters working on stencils in downtown San Antonio, Texas.
Travis Painting Since 1886

2022 and Beyond

J.E. Travis Painting, Inc. and Travis Millwork, Inc. will continue the family tradition of providing premium products and services delivered on time and hassle-free. Our leadership is committed to building beautiful projects, developing trusting relationships with vendors and clients, and providing stability and growth for our employees. These values have allowed five generations of the Travis family to serve the Central and South Texas communities, 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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