Last night the Alamo Plaza Advisory Commission met to discuss the future of the most famous building in San Antonio, which included how to improve the experience of a huge tourist draw while improving historical aspects of the grounds. One could say the project is 178 years in the making.
Patrick Sparks is the president of Texas Dance Hall Preservation - you can find them online at TexasDanceHall.org. They have information about where the dance halls are and what events are coming up at them.
"It's a kind of magic; people who have never been to a real Texas dance hall go to one, it's a real experience for them. So there's a huge feeling in the state and elsewhere for the halls and how important they are."
The dust up in Mahncke Park over a historic neighborhood designation divided the community, with some wanting to avoid the added restriction on construction but others striving to protect their neighborhood from rapid development.
Lots of buzz and media attention were on the neighbors, but now those petitioning the city have seen support drop to a level that makes the current proposal untenable, according to the Office of Historic Preservation.
The neighborhood was the first to try to attain the status since the process was reformed.
An increasingly vocal group of homeowners is making its opposition known about turning the century-old Mahncke Park neighborhood into a historic district.
Sporting signs and t-shirts saying "51% should rule," Mahncke Park homeowners opposed to the historic designation rallied at a press conference to oppose the city process they say leaves residents powerless against a minority of property owners.
The historic designation process kicks in after 30% of homeowners make an official request, and the law does not require the agreement of a majority.
It’s a program created by the Patrick Heath Public Library in Boerne and it’s got a very retro feel. Hearkening back to the Beatles album, it's called the Magical History Tour.
“What we are trying to do is to introduce our patrons, and anyone else who’s interested, to the history of the region," said Heath librarian Robin Stauber. To do so they’ve created these tours, and Stauber said they have gone all over the place.
“We’ve been to New Braunfels, we’ve been to Bandera, we’ve been to Castroville, we've been into San Antonio to do some things there,” Stauber said.
A pivotal historic event happened about 40 miles north of San Antonio, and odds are you’ve never heard of it. It’s called the Battle of Walker’s Creek. Historian and author Sam Gwynne (he writes as S.C. Gwynne) describes it this way.
"It was a major change in the way that Indian warfare was conducted," Gwynne said. "And the story behind it is one of the great stories of the American West."
As he details, that story centers around Texas Ranger Jack Hays.
In every city there are hidden gems; places off the beaten trail, less known and less likely to be a tourist attraction, their cultural and historical value less straight forward.
Such sites include the marriage of Mexican craftsmanship and Spanish engineering that resulted in Espada Dam and aquaduct, the history of the cemetery on East Commerce, little family-owned shops that have maintained the traditions of their forebears, the spots far from city center, the repurposed, and the countless places overrun by time.
The Boehler Building gained its distinctive starboard slant as a result of surviving the big flood of 1921. Water reached the bottom of the second floor and when it receded, the building leaned dramatically to its right and has remained so ever since.
The City’s Historic and Design Review Commission has denied permission for the Boehler Building’s owner to move the leaning structure to the Pearl property down the street.
The new owner of the crooked building, which many people still call the Liberty Bar, wanted to move it from its location on Josephine at the Hwy 281 exit, two blocks south to the corner of Avenue A and Pearl Parkway.