Through the years, development has eaten away at the inventory of housing downtown and in the immediate surrounding areas. Within the past 30 or so years, our own King William neighborhood lost five blocks of homes between S. St. Mary’s St. and the river for the expansion of the Brackenridge High School campus. Later, another four blocks were razed where the San Antonio Housing Authority now sits. The site was originally to be the site of a post office complex that was ultimately changed to a north side location.
But even before this, significant homes were lost in the area between King William and downtown. In her book, Alluring San Antonio, artist and writer Lillie May Hagner tells about homes that still surrounded downtown in the 1930s. Some of the homes are still standing, but sadly many others are gone. One such home was that of politician Thad Smith, shown below. Located on Flores St., a popular residential street of early City pioneers, it was built of stone with cupolas and arches.
Everyone, especially those who live in historic districts, needs to be vigilant to protect our heritage. Remember, once it was proposed to put a freeway through at the corner of King William and Sheridan Streets.
Ms. Hagner’s book can be found in the KWA’s library. As one reads through the book, it is easy to see that San Antonio is not quite as alluring as it once was because of what we have lost.
- Alan Cash