This is the second installment in a three-part series diving into the findings of the West Side Sound Oral History Project, an effort to document and preserve the West Side’s musical heritage. Read the first installment here.

While West Side Sound is a genre, it is also a connection to a place. Through our interviews for the West Side Sound Oral History Project, we learned about the spaces out of which the West Side’s unique sound was born and the venues that brought that music to the forefront.

Our community partner, Jaime Macias, owner of Jaime’s Place, helped us understand the power of place and make the connection between community spaces of the past and present. Jaime’s Place is not just a local hangout spot, it is also a community gathering spot, a small business, and a family-owned space. A place where music is enjoyed, but also where conversations take place about the future of our spaces, and the future of our people. 

The places important to West Side Sound functioned similarly as multi-faceted spaces grounded in community. Our interviews for the project transported each person back to another time, bringing to mind their first dates, time spent with their high school friends and the memories of bailes in the Edgewood High School gym or the Municipal Auditorium. Hearing these experiences was just as important to us as learning about the music and the artists. Without these places, there may not have been a West Side Sound. 

In an interview with Westside residents Alice Cervantes and Juanita Mendoza, there was mention of many places on the West Side, including The Buena Vista, Patio Andaluz, and the Municipal Auditorium. Other interviews mentioned places like the Keyhole Club, La Gloria Rooftop Garden, and The Navy. All of these places have a unique relationship with music. These spaces allowed the community to showcase their music and the music that we came to know as West Side Sound. 

Unfortunately, in our time, we have seen many of these places lost for different reasons. La Gloria was demolished after a new owner of the property came in and decided the rooftop garden was no longer fitting for his truck repair shop, a fight that stirred things up at City Hall. Patio Andaluz, the parking lot behind Cafe Don Juan, is just that, a simple parking lot. And the Municipal Auditorium, which we now know as the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, is no longer a hotspot for West Side Sound bailes. Some of the memories of these places are now captured in our oral history project. 

Each memory included the music, but it also included the place. The memories that we preserved are memories that tie back to the concrete dance floors and incandescent light bulbs of dancehalls and high school gyms. In the interview excerpt below, Cervantes and Mendoza share their own memories of the places that made West Side Sound:

YouTube video

Cervantes: [Hearing West Side Sound] brings a lot of memories. I’m proud that it’s a different type of sound compared to other rock and roll. We would go to the Patio Andaluz, the Buena Vista, the VFW on Zarzamora, La Villita, and the Municipal Auditorium for afternoon dances. 

Mendoza: They were from 12 to 10, verdad? There would be several bands, and andabamos ahí, jumping up and down.

Cervantes: You could hear the floor thumping at the municipal.

Mendoza: Because there’s a lot of people that would go. We got there by bus, but when we went to Patio Andaluz, we would walk.

Cervantes: And we would walk back afterward. We weren’t really that scared, though. It was a different time.

Mendoza: We were about 16 then, barely in high school, and we’d walk back and forth … [Listening to the music now] brings back all those memories. You can go back to that time and see yourself sitting there at the ballroom. It was just good times, and now we get to enjoy it again with the seniors.

The West Side Sound Oral History Project, which is supported by a grant from UTSA’s Westside Community Partnerships Initiative, is about the preservation of our community memories, local histories, music and cultural contributions, businesses, and barrios. If you or someone you know would like to be interviewed, please contact

Norbert “Geremy” Landin III is from San Antonio and holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in public history from St. Mary’s University. Geremy currently serves on the San Antonio Public...

Sylvia Mendoza, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of Mexican American Studies at UTSA. She was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas and attended San Antonio College, graduated with her bachelor’s from...

Gloria Vásquez Gonzáles is a lecturer and co-director of the Mexican American Studies Teacher’s Academy at the University of Texas at San Antonio.