Hi. My name is Bill Simons, and I am going to be your guide today. I am a member of the San Antonio Professional Tour Guide Association and own a company called Cycling San Antonio that takes people on bicycle tours down to the Spanish Missions.
The historical King William area is so charming and important that the City of San Antonio included it on a tour for Prince Charles’ during his 1986 visit. This was the first planned subdivision in the city of San Antonio and the first historic neighborhood in the state of Texas. Today’s tour will cover some of the more interesting stories associated with several of the homes on King William Street. You will be directed to park one street over from King William on Madison Street, but most important for this tour is that you don’t park on King William Street proper.
Like most conquering overlords, the Spanish made short work of destroying the culture of the highly advanced civilizations of southern Mexico. The Aztecs and Mayans were no match for the steel and germs brought by the Europeans and were soon crushed under their boots as a worthless, inferior race. That stigma was still around and growing as the Anglos started to outnumber Hispanics in the new country and later state of Texas.
In 1975, Jesse Trevino, who we will talk about later, painted a mural at Our Lady of the Lake University that would set the tone for many of the murals you will see today. The center of La Historia Chicana is a large Mexican pyramid, a reminder of the proud historical culture from which they had descended. Many of the murals you will see today refer to this culture.
Currently in San Antonio that Hispanic influences growing. From pioneers like Henry B Gonzalez and Henry Cisneros to current political superstars Juan and Julian Castro the stigmas and stereotypes of the past are slowly fading. On this tour you will see a grassroots effort to raise awareness of the importance of culture and family in this predominantly Hispanic area at the same time you will see some pretty good art created by people that live in this neighborhood. This will be a special tour you will remember