When my wife and I were first dating in the ‘80s, she was renting an apartment on Vance Jackson Road, between Wurzbach and Huebner, and I was living and working in Corpus Christi. My work brought me to San Antonio quite frequently, and I always enjoyed my visits to the “big city” with such unique flavor and culture. 

We often took walks on Vance Jackson and we watched the Mission Trace neighborhood grow, then the development of the Well Springs and River Oaks neighborhoods, nice communities with attractive garden style homes. One day we saw a new development spring up between Well Springs and River Oaks, a small area being built with red brick townhomes, set amongst some of the most beautiful, mature live oaks in the city. I remember telling her that we were going to live there someday. 

By 1998, we owned one of these beautiful red brick townhomes in Jackson Court. We still live here and love the neighborhood more than ever. This hidden gem of a neighborhood is so special. First, the location is convenient to everything. We used to walk to the H-E-B on Wurzbach Road, and the Medical Center area is only five minutes away. Just down the street, on the corner with Wurzbach is Mimi’s Barbacoa, our favorite taco spot, and right next to that is Shipley, our favorite donut shop.

Shipley Do-Nuts and Mimi’s Barbacoa are two of Mark Jaggard’s favorite neighborhood eats. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

While the ambiance of the neighborhood is special, a garden-like setting among all the trees, it is the neighbors who truly define the hood and make it so terrific. Our next-door neighbor is one of the original homeowners. There are only 18 homeowners here and they represent a diversity of ethnicities, backgrounds, religions, and political preferences. We have business professionals, bankers, engineers, teachers, principals, insurance agents and realtors. Those of us who are retired wave goodbye to those still working every morning.

We have a small pool at the end of the block and, when the weather is warm, meet our neighbors every Friday evening for happy hour and poolside conversation. Holidays afford us another opportunity to gather and share food and fun. Over the years, we have shared many birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, promotions, and alas, some funerals, too. 

One of our annual highlights is a progressive dinner, usually between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is a parade of homes with lots of good food and drink. Although the exteriors of our homes are quite homogenous, the interiors tell a different story. We have five basic floor plans, but there is a wide range of décor, upgrades, and designs. This get-together dates back to 1987 when the first phase of townhomes was completed. There was a lull for about ten years as people moved in and out, but the custom was revived as an annual event in 2010 and has been held every year since.We also have a tamalada together at Christmas, a tradition that began about ten years ago with our neighbors from Laredo and Venezuela.

Like many neighborhoods, we do have a homeowners association. We’d like to think ours is a strong one, and for more than 30 years, we have been self-governed and self-managed. Collectively, we worked with SAWS and landscape experts back in 2014 after some serious drought years, and we were able to begin developing plans and landscaping schemes featuring more native and drought tolerant plants and shrubs, effectively reducing our water consumption while maintaining the garden atmosphere we wanted. 

Most recently, we decided that a first-class flagpole at our entrance would really help set our neighborhood apart and give us a chance to show our patriotism. Within two weeks we had drummed up enough support and received enough contributions from the residents that that we had the flag installed just before the Christmas season. 

Mark Jaggard stands at the entrance to his neighborhood, where a newly-mounted flagpole is backdropped by mature live oaks. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

While a neighborhood can be defined or identified by its location, history, or notoriety, our gem of a neighborhood is truly defined by its people. We are a caring, courteous, and generous bunch. We will look after your pets for you, collect your mail, and check on your house while you are away on a trip or vacation – or just take the time to sit and chat over a cup of coffee or a cold drink. That is what defines Jackson Court.

Mark Jaggard worked for Coastal Corp./El Paso Energy for 30 years, then owned a hotel and bar in Kingsville before retiring in 2008.