Did you know that San Antonio was once the largest city in Texas? Or that it has one of the largest inventories of historic buildings in any downtown including buildings dating to the Spanish-colonial era? Or that there’s a secret basement hidden in the Alamo? Okay, that last part is pure folklore, but truth be told, San Antonio has one of the richest and most diverse histories in the country, and there is much to discover about our city’s heritage. At the Office of Historic Preservation, our mission is to not only protect our historic and cultural resources so that future generations may enjoy them, but to also inform and educate our citizens on the wealth of historic resources that can be found in our own backyard.
One way we do this is by celebrating Preservation Month in May. Preservation Month is a time for communities across the country to engage in their heritage. The City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation celebrates Preservation Month by hosting a number of fun and educational events that showcase the unique and historic character of San Antonio. 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 website for a full listing of Preservation Month Events.
Amazing Preservation Race – May 6
On Saturday, May 6, the Amazing Preservation Race returns, bringing teams of four together to compete in the ultimate urban adventure in downtown San Antonio. Think “The Amazing Race” with a preservation twist. This event is a great chance to see historic and often unvisited historic buildings in a whole new way and compete for awesome prizes. The race’s start and finish, and a fun after-party will be at the Maverick Plaza in La Villita. Registration for this event closes on May 1.
Eastside Sacred Places – May 10
From their towering spires to colorful stained glass windows, the historic Eastside churches of San Antonio tell the story of communities built upon a strong foundation of faith. Many congregations trace their histories back over a century, and their houses of worship feature an impressive diversity of architectural styles. On May 10, join us for an evening exploring the traditions and religious heritage of the Eastside, beginning with a self-paced tour of four historic churches followed by a reception and keynote address in the Carver Community Cultural Center (originally the home of the Porter Memorial CME Church).
Preservation Month Mini-Golf Extravaganza – May 12
Did you get engaged at Cool Crest Miniature Golf? Maybe your first kiss was at Cool Crest? Did Ms. Metzger threaten to call your parents? Cool Crest is such a nostalgic place for so many, which makes is the perfect place to throw a Preservation Month party. Join us on May 12 for food, drinks, music, mini-golf, prizes, and fun. Tickets are on sale now.
Rehabarama – May 13
This year, we are excited to introduce Rehabarama as a Preservation Month event. Rehabarama is designed to be a showcase of community building and preservation in action. During this single-day event, volunteers, local contractors, students, and neighborhood leaders will join together to revitalize and restore an entire city block. The project will also provide assistance to homes in the historic neighborhood of Denver Heights on the city’s Eastside. Denver Heights is a strong community and a great place to live and work. We are excited to provide assistance to its residents by tackling repair and maintenance issues. The day closes with a fun block party at Pittman-Sullivan Park that is open to everyone. Join us on May 13 by becoming a volunteer.
Discovering the Spanish-colonial Powder House – May 15
OHP and the San Antonio Public Library offer a presentation on an exciting archaeological discovery. Through crowd-research, archival map and record analysis, a ground penetrating radar survey, and archaeological investigations, OHP has confirmed the location of the Spanish-colonial Watch Tower and Powder House. These structures, constructed between 1808 and 1809, represented a significant military post that was, through its span of use, occupied by the militaries of Spain, Mexico, The Republic of Texas, The United States, and the Confederate States of America. The long use of the structures ended in the late 19th century when the buildings were demolished and their locations were lost to history – until now. Please join us May 15 to retrace the archaeological discovery of this site.
Amazing Preservation Race for Kids – May 20
Preservation Month is a great opportunity for kids to get involved in acknowledging and celebrating our heritage. For instance, did you know that the San Antonio Zoo is not only historic but one of the oldest and first zoos in the country to offer barless animal exhibits? On May 20, we invite families with kids to discover, explore, and investigate the many hidden treasures and historic architecture of the San Antonio Zoo at the Amazing Preservation Race for Kids. This event is a competitive, architectural scavenger hunt designed for elementary school-aged kids with games, prizes, and giveaways. Make sure to sign yourself and the kiddos up in advance. Kids admission to the zoo is free.
Mission Possible Bus Tour – May 20
Exploring the San Antonio Missions World Heritage Site is easier than ever with VIA Metropolitan Transit‘s VIVA Route 40. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, the Professional Tour Guide Association of San Antonio will have a tour guide on each VIA bus providing information along the route. Winning artwork selected as part of VIA’s 22nd Annual Youth Art Contest will also be on display at each of the Missions. This unique event is organized by VIA Metropolitan Transit, Professional Tour Guide Association of San Antonio, San Antonio Missions National Park, The Alamo, and City of San Antonio World Heritage Office.
#ScoutSA – All Month Long
We invite all of San Antonio to explore, discover, and celebrate the places that make San Antonio unique. Places that are special to you or significant to our community can be shared through the #ScoutSA photo campaign. In celebration of Preservation Month, our City Council members have shared photos from their own districts. Where will ScoutSA take you?