The Where I Live series aims to showcase our diverse city and region by spotlighting its many vibrant neighborhoods. Each week a local resident invites us over and lets us in on what makes their neighborhood special. Have we been to your neighborhood yet? Get in touch to share your story.
The plan when my family moved to San Antonio from Seguin was to have a house built for us. While we were transitioning, we were driving our kids, Martina and Evan, from Seguin to downtown San Antonio every day and attending a church downtown. We enjoyed being in the center of the city, and began to look for homes in Southtown, Mahncke Park, and the Woodlawn Lake area. We chose the Monticello Park Historic District for its proximity to Woodlawn Lake, and for the features of the homes we were considering — we were able to find the storage we needed, and a large backyard.
When we moved here, our kids went to school at our church downtown, and we loved being close to the Magik Theatre (our kids were 3 and 6 at the time), summer programs at San Antonio Academy and the Southwest School of Art, the San Antonio Zoo, the Central Library, and the San Antonio Botanical Garden. We spent many hours at the Woodlawn Lake playground, which was remodeled shortly after we arrived, and our central location helped me in my quest to visit every San Antonio pool and every San Antonio public library branch. (I have at least ten more pools to go, but I’ve hit almost every library!)
One of the biggest advantages of the accessibility to Woodlawn Lake is sailing — my husband has a small sailboat that he can sail or row on the lake. We’ve hosted birthday parties at Woodlawn Lake, and given rides in the boat, and we’ve rowed the Girl Scouts out to the geocache in the lake. Although the kids are older now and don’t spend time on the playground, we still take our dog on frequent walks to the lake, and we don’t have to find parking to attend major events at the park.
The pool is a popular spot for us in the summer, and I continue year-round at the San Antonio Natatorium when the Woodlawn pool closes. We also like to frequent businesses close by, including Lighthouse Seafood (our go-to when I don’t feel like cooking), Original Donut Shop, Jefferson Bodega, and Dibble’s Hobbies. We did a lot of walking around the Jefferson area during our short-lived obsession with Pokemon Go.
While we were cleaning up the house when we first moved in, we found a lot of interesting things, like a decades-old Valentine’s Day card and a collection of vintage shoes, left by previous owners that made the house feel like a time capsule. We also discovered that what we originally thought was a laundry table in the laundry room was actually a train layout for model trains. My husband, Jon, really likes model trains and took that as a sign that we were meant to be in this house.
Living in a historic district is wonderful because you’re surrounded by homes with so much history and special design features, but there are challenges. When we first moved in, the house settled and one of the front windows fell. In order to fix it, we had to get permission from the Historic and Design Review Commission, so there is an extra step to home improvement projects, even though we don’t have an HOA.
As with all older homes, we’ve had to do a lot of upkeep to both the exterior and interior, although we try to keep as many of the original features as possible. We’ve refinished the wood floors, remodeled the downstairs half bath, and have a new balcony. The balcony is especially important because we get a great view of the fireworks when we decide to avoid the crowds at the park. Our favorite fireworks to watch from the balcony are for Day of the Dead.
The city has started on much-needed work on our worn sidewalks and streets, which will be a big improvement to the neighborhood, and we are working on adjustments to the yard to prevent erosion from the rain. However, living so close to downtown, it is hard to spend too much time working on the house when we are spending our time shopping in the Mercado, attending the Queso Meltdown at Christian Assistance Ministries, and going to San Antonio Symphony pops concerts, all of which are about 10 minutes away.
We love living in the Monticello Park Historic District and hope to be here for a long time.