San Antonio has a lot to celebrate! We just wrapped up 11 days of Fiesta, a time-honored tradition shaped by our heritage, culture, and local flavor. It’s also been less than a year since our Spanish Colonial Missions received inscription as a World Heritage Site. This important distinction is expected to stimulate renewed interested and revitalization in the historic areas surrounding the missions. The forthcoming San Pedro Creek Improvements will create a new and vibrant public passage through our historic downtown and reintroduce the public to an important cultural resource. The City has also teamed up with the Texas General Land Office to develop a master plan for Alamo Plaza that will completely transform the visitor experience. And all of this is culminating with the 2018 Tricentennial Celebration of the founding of San Antonio! This continued investment in San Antonio’s heritage resources makes this an exciting time for preservation in San Antonio.
Every May, the City of San Antonio participates in National Preservation Month. Established in 1973 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, this month-long event promotes historic places to instill national and community pride, promote heritage tourism, and show the social and economic benefits of historic preservation. This year, the Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) has chosen the theme of “mosaic” to remind us of the rich and diverse heritage that makes San Antonio unique and to underscore the interweaving of cultures that has occurred during our city’s history and has defined our local character. It is something that has universal value across the globe and ultimately helped secure the World Heritage designation of our missions.
To celebrate Preservation Month, OHP is offering a wide range of fun and educational events that cover a variety of topics related to local history, culture, and our architectural heritage. All City events are open to the public but advance registration may be required. Some of these events have limited seating, so be sure to register for the events that interest you. Visit our web site at www.SApreservation.com for a full listing of Preservation Month Events.
Tee-off Preservation Month at the Cool Crest Mini-Golf Tournament on April 29. We love Cool Crest because it is at the very heart of why we preserve. Who doesn’t have a Cool Crest story? The course first opened in 1929 and was lovingly restored by the Andry Family in 2013. Enjoy food, drinks, music, and some friendly competition. Teams of four are encouraged. Prizes for best team scores and best vintage golf attire! Click here for tickets.
Heritage comes in all shapes and sizes, including gas stations! Join OHP and the San Antonio Conservation Society at Deco Pizzeria on Tuesday, May 3, as we take a drive down memory lane and celebrate San Antonio’s roadside architecture. Food and drinks provided! RSVP here.
This year, we launched the SApreservation Rehabber Club which has been called a “think tank and support group of carpenters, craftsmen, contractors and others to share information about rehabilitating historic structures”. On May 7, our Rehabbers are putting their skills to good use by repairing a house on the Southside. The work day is being led by ReVamp Design Build. To participate, or learn more about Rehabber Club, contact our staff at 210-207-4680.
In partnership with the San Antonio Conservation Society, OHP is hosting a free lecture by NEH White House Citation recipient Everett Fly on Tuesday, May 10. Titled “Cultural Preservation: Holistic Stewardship of Black History and Place in San Antonio,” the lecture will explore the role African Americans played in settling San Antonio. RSVP here.
On Saturday, May 14, the Amazing Preservation Race returns, bringing teams of four together to compete in the ultimate urban adventure. Take a look at some of the team costumes we’ve seen in the past. We’re excited to see this year’s creativity! It will be our biggest ever, taking the competition to historic Southtown. Start, finish, and afterparty will be at the Friendly Spot. Registration for this event closes on May 12.
In partnership with Alamo Complex Management, OHP is offering a private tour of historic graffiti found at the Alamo on Tuesday, May 17. Very cool! Registration for this event is free, but limited. Reserve your spot today.
Speaking of the Alamo, Kay Hindes, the City Archaeologist, along with District 1 Councilman Roberto Treviño, will present on the archaeological work that led to the discovery of the probable first site of Mission San Antonio de Valero. Make plans to attend the free lecture on Wednesday, May 18, at the Christopher Columbus Italian Society, 201 Piazza Italia. RSVP here.
Preservation Month is a great opportunity for kids to get involved in recognizing and celebrating our heritage. The Amazing Preservation Race for Kids takes place on Saturday, May 21, at Mission San Jose. This is a free event, but we ask that you register your family in advance.
OHP is also facilitating two youth education programs at New Frontiers Charter School and Sarah King Elementary. Instilling the value of heritage in our youth is part of OHP’s broader vision to support cultural sustainability in our City, a concept which is expounded in our Economic Impact Study. We are engaging the students with our ScoutSA discovery tool which allows individuals to share data and photos of important places with the City in real time.
Finally, OHP invites the community to share the places that are meaningful to them. Share your photos on social media using #ThisPlaceMatters and #SApreservation. We’ll be sharing our own #ThisPlaceMatters photos all month long on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Of course, we can’t do it all by ourselves. Preservation Month is made possible by many sponsors and partners. Please visit our website for a full listing of everyone involved.
*Top Image:Course following its 2013 restoration, courtesy of JB Lyde Parish Photography