The San Antonio Conservation Society is looking to bring new life to the historic Yturri-Edmunds House Museum.
The Yturri-Edmunds House Museum, seen here in 2019, was vandalized over the weekend. The perpetrator left behind a Nike t-shirt. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

The Conservation Society of San Antonio will install additional lighting around the 1850 Yturri-Edmunds House Museum after someone ransacked, stole items and possibly attempted to set fire to the historical site over the weekend. 

The home is located in what is now the Roosevelt Park neighborhood and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a durable remnant of early 19th-century life in San Antonio, with thick adobe block walls, original furnishings, limestone acequia and restored mill.

According to the incident report, the San Antonio Police Department was notified of the crime on Aug. 27, but because there is no video surveillance available, it is possible the incident occurred a day earlier.

The property tenant conducted their usual security walk at 8 p.m. on Aug. 26 and did not notice any damage to the property, the report states. The next day at noon, the tenant noticed a wooden door to the main house had been kicked in. The bedroom door was also kicked in, said Vincent Michael, executive director of the Conservation Society. 

Michael said the bedroom was the “most disturbed” area, with items scattered on the floor across different rooms. Several items had been vandalized and others stolen. It appeared someone had attempted to light kerosene lanterns, he said, but none contained fuel. 

Michael said that as Conservation Society officials work to compile a list of missing items from the home, which they will share with SAPD, and they’re putting items back onto shelves to compare to photos of everything that was there before. 

“The Roosevelt Park neighborhood is stunned and disappointed by the violation of the Yturri-Edmunds House,” wrote Jeff Hunt, Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association president. “The Yturri-Edmunds House is an historic jewel in our neighborhood and we are hoping the artifacts that were taken will be found and returned to their home.”

Originally part of Mission Concepcion lands, the land was granted in 1824 to Manuel Yturri Castillo from the Mexican government. He passed the property on to his granddaughter, Ernestine E. Edmunds.

Edmunds willed the two-third acre tract to the Conservation Society after her death in 1961. Since then, the society has worked to protect the historical site, which houses artifacts that belonged to her. 

Michael said there have not been cameras installed at the property because the site doesn’t have Wi-Fi. “I can’t think of a time in four years that someone has actually broken into that house,” he said. 

One item stolen was a clock which contained handwritten notes from Edmunds and her sister in it; both claimed the clock stopped when their mother died in 1924. 

“I also noticed the historic antique coffee grinder is missing from the kitchen,” Michael said. “There were a lot of knickknacks and dishes and sculptures.”

Michael said items missing from the home aren’t worth a lot of money but carry mostly interpretive value because they were objects that belonged to the family.

The only apparent clue? “We noticed that one of the intruders left a T-shirt behind with a Nike swoosh on it,” Michael said.

Raquel Torres is the San Antonio Report's breaking news reporter. A 2020 graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University, her work has been recognized by the Texas Managing Editors. She previously worked...