The Where I Live series aims to showcase our diverse city 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.
I was born and raised in San Antonio and until recently have lived on the city’s North Side. When it came time to find a home of my own, that was naturally where I began my search. But I quickly discovered that there weren’t a lot of homes available in my budget, and the ones that were on the market sold very quickly.
When I expanded my search to other parts of San Antonio I came across this beautiful little 75-year-old Craftsman bungalow in the eclectic neighborhood of Palm Heights. The house has features like original windows and hardwood flooring, wide trimmed entryways, custom-made kitchen cabinets, and plenty of natural lighting. It’s been a dream of mine to own an older home, and I’m excited to add my own touches.
Before I purchased my home, I didn’t know anything about Palm Heights. I found out my father and stepmother both spent time here when they were younger and through them got a lay of the land. Some of the restaurants that my parents enjoyed when they were younger I now get to experience for myself. Places like Gyro’s Drive Inn or Fred’s Fish Fry have been around for ages and continue to serve simple comfort food to the community. Tony’s Tacos To-Go is another local favorite where I can pick up breakfast tacos on my way to work.
My favorite perk about living in Palm Heights that I love to brag about is that I get to shop at the two-story H-E-B on Nogalitos Street. I’m also happy to be near quite a few parks where I can take my dogs Hazel and Kawhi for some playtime. Palm Heights Park is the closest one and where you’ll most often find us, but we also like to visit Collins Garden Park and Confluence Park. The location of this neighborhood is amazing, as it is just a short drive to The Pearl, Southtown, King William, and the St. Mary’s Strip.
Being a first-time homeowner during the pandemic was never part of the plan, and it’s been quite a challenge. Everything from the search to the move and settling in has been different because of the necessary safety precautions. Many of my neighbors are older, so no matter how friendly I’m used to being, I have to keep in mind that interactions have to be from a safe distance.
I remember one day early in the spring when a lot of us were out in our front yards doing some spring cleaning. I took the opportunity to strike up a conversation and introduce myself, and one of my neighbors was very clear about setting his boundaries, explaining that his household was still being very cautious about who they come in contact with.
Despite these boundaries, everyone has been welcoming and I still feel a strong sense of community. When the winter storm happened, I had a pipe burst in my laundry room that caused a flood. My neighbors, thankfully, came to the rescue. They lent me tools to get my water line turned off, referred me to different plumbers, and helped me clean the water out of the house. It was comforting to know that I could count on my community.
Palm Heights is a multi-generational neighborhood, as families have lived here and passed down their memories and homes to their children and grandchildren. Many of my retired neighbors have invested a lot of work into the upkeep of their homes, and it’s clear that they take great pride not only in their houses but in the neighborhood. It is a value that makes this community so special.
There’s a lot of potential in Palm Heights for small businesses to set up shop and contribute to the growth of the area, but with that, of course, comes the threat of gentrification. It’s my hope that businesses looking toward Palm Heights see an opportunity to be part of a neighborhood with deep roots and a vibrant community rather than transform the area in a way that drives out longtime residents.
I’m certainly excited about the potential of my neighborhood and my home. Slowly and surely this house is getting fixed up. Next on the to-do list is new exterior paint and a taller fence for the yard. My vision for this home is to preserve its natural and historic beauty while also adding a modern touch. But most importantly, I would like it to be a place where I get to grow with my dogs and eventually a family.