101 S Santa Rosa Ave, San Antonio, TX 78207, USA
Slow down and look to your right across the park to the large mural on the wall of that building. The Spirit of Healing, created by San Antonio artist Jesse Trevino, is one of the largest mosaics in North America. It stands more than 90 feet tall and has more than 150,000 pieces of hand -cut ceramic tile.
Dolorosa & San Saba, San Antonio, TX 78207, USA
If you look to your left you will see the parking lot of one of my favorite restaurants, Mi Tierra. It is within walking distance of most downtown hotels, and never closes. Just past there you will see another beautiful, though smaller, work by Jesse Trevino.
100 S Santa Rosa Ave, San Antonio, TX 78207, USA
American Short Story writer O. Henry lived in San Antonio in 1895 and on your left is the original “tiny” house he stayed in. It was moved stone by stone from its original location and reconstructed here.
Dolorosa Opp. Plaza De Armas, San Antonio, TX 78204, USA
Dolorosa & S. Flores, San Antonio, TX 78204, USA
On your left you will see San Fernando Cathedral and our Main Square The red sandstone and granite building on your right is the Bexar County Courthouse. It was built between 1892 and 1897.
301 W Market St, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA
To call the Briscoe Western Art Museum simply an Art Museum is certainly a disservice. Although there are a lot of western paintings, drawings, and sculptures, there are plenty of displays of artifacts from that era. They are currently open Thursday – Monday 8 AM to 5 PM
205 N Presa St B201, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA
To your right, at 622 feet, it’s hard to miss the last remnant of a Worlds Fair we had here in 1968 . It’s called the Hemisfair Tower or the Tower of the Americas. On your left is the Torch of Friendship, a gift given to the city by a group of Mexican businessmen. This 70-foot tall, 50-ton piece is the work of renowned Mexican modernist sculpture, Sebastian.
Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA
When I am doing my regular bike tours we start here in front of the Alamo and I usually spend almost 30 minutes talking about the importance of this place in San Antonio, Texas, Mexican, and United States History. Let’s see if I can do it in under 3 minutes! Ready…go. This place started its life in 1718 as the first Spanish Colonial Mission here and was called Mission San Antonio de Valero. It was shut down in the late 1790s and was only later referred to as the Alamo. Mexico got their independence from Spain in 1821, and between then and the mid-1830s, a whole bunch of Anglo settlers from the United States moved here with the agreement that they would become Mexican Citizens. They soon decided that they didn’t like the Mexican rule and eventually there was a revolution. So, whether you consider the defenders of the Alamo as brave men fighting for their beliefs or a bunch of armed insurrectionists occupying Mexican government property and fighting against their country’s army pretty much depends which way you look at it. When Santa Anna killed all of the almost 200 Alamo defenders and several weeks later executed in cold blood 400 men in Goliad, he felt he was giving these treasonous pirates their due. But turnabout is, certainly, fair play. On April 21, 1836, Sam Houston and his army of 900 Texans literally caught the unsuspecting Santa Anna and his 1400 troops napping in the late afternoon and what ensued, referred to as the Battle of San Jacinto, was one of the most lopsided victories in military history. Although the Mexican forces were overwhelmed in just 18 minutes, the Texans, with evil intent in their eyes, proceeded to slaughter over 700 Mexicans while yelling: Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad! Thus, Texas became the only state to have been its own country first. Did I make the 3 Minutes? Good. Pull forward to the big monument ahead and stop. As the Texas Centennial celebration was approaching in 1936, there was a movement, mostly pushed by the sculpture that eventually got the commission, Pompeo Coppini, to build a monument to the brave men who lost their lives in the battle of the Alamo. One local newspaper said that creating a monument to honor the Alamo was like lighting a candle to help illuminate the sun. Despite that, the money was raised and Coppini chose to build this Cenotaph, or Empty Tomb. It is 60 feet tall, sculpted from Georgia marble, and stands on a base of pink Texas granite.
304 Ave E, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA
309 N Alamo St, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA
518 N Alamo St, San Antonio, TX 78215, USA
620 Broadway #10, San Antonio, TX 78215, USA
930 Broadway, San Antonio, TX 78215, USA
1616 Broadway, San Antonio, TX 78215, USA
The Pearl Brewery, under several different names, operated on this site from 1880 to 2001. When local billionaire Kit Goldsbury told his financial advisors that he wanted to buy the old brewery and turn it into an all purpose hub of activity, they thought he had lost his mind. He had the three things necessary to make something like this succeed: Vision, Determination, and Money…lots of Money. It is now THE trendy place to hang out and the biggest problem can often be finding a place to park. Stop by on your way back from the Witte and spend some time exploring.
2300 Broadway, San Antonio, TX 78215, USA
Does the name Gutsom Borglum ring a bell? How about Mt. Rushmore? The creator of Mt. Rushmore arrived in San Antonio in 1925 and lived here for more than a decade. He used this old pumping station as his studio and most of the design work for Mt. Rushmore took place right here. Borglum really wanted to get the commission to build the memorial to the fallen heroes of the Alamo in 1936 and was supposedly so angry that his rival Coppini got it instead, that he packed up his family and left. He died before Mt. Rushmore was finished and his son Lincoln carried it to completion.
3003 Broadway, San Antonio, TX 78209, USA
3700 N St Mary's St, San Antonio, TX 78212, USA
Limestone has been quarried from this location since the Spanish first arrived in the early 1700s. In the 1800s this is where the German masons quarried limestone blocks for construction. By 1880, the discovery was made that the limestone rock could be used for production of Portland cement and Alamo Cement company was born. The quarry was abandoned in 1908 and a creative, imaginative City Parks Commissioner decided to transform the site into a sunken garden. The city used Prison Labor to shape the quarry into a complex with walkways, stone arch bridges and a pagoda and it was called the Japanese Tea Garden. With the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the name was swiftly changed to the Chinese Sunken Gardens and the Japanese family who had acted as caretakers for 16 years was unceremoniously booted out. Surprisingly, it took until 1984 for the name to be changed back. San Antonio, known as Military City USA, has a long memory..
Stadium Dr in Front of Saws, San Antonio, TX 78212, USA
706 Stadium Dr, San Antonio, TX 78212, USA
It’s hard to think of a San Antonio without both Spanish and Mexican influences. A woman named Ethyl Harris ran several businesses in the 30s through the 50s that employed Mexican Artisans whose decorative tiles adorned the homes of many of the wealthy San Antonians of the time. Most of the work they did is in private hands, but during the Great Depression a pair of Anglo WPA artists created what many feel are some of the most monumental work to come out of her shop. They did the design and painting on the tiles that were eventually fired in her shop and installed, mural style, over the doors of Alamo Stadium that was a WPA project as well. When finished go back to Stadium Drive and turn right.
Hildebrand & Devine Rd., San Antonio, TX 78212, USA
950 E Hildebrand Ave, San Antonio, TX 78212, USA
Dionicio Rodriguez is not a household name in San Antonio, but his work is instantly recognizable and appreciated throughout the city. Rodriguez originally came from Mexico in the 1920s to do work for an affluent doctor who had had taken refuge here during the Mexican Revolution. He had no problem finding work here and stayed until the 1940s. Although an artist-of-many-trades, his specialty was Faux Bois, or false wood. It is a process where a form is built of wire that is then covered up with multiple coats of cement. While the last coat is still wet tools are used to sculpt it into looking like wood. Although he didn’t invent the process, he was certainly one of the great practitioners.
3501 Avenue B, San Antonio, TX 78209, USA
3619 Broadway, San Antonio, TX 78209, USA
If you have the time, I will suggest a visit to the Witte Museum. It is open seven days a week. If not, just take some time to walk around the grounds. There are two things you can see without going in. As you are walking back towards the building look to your left and you will see a faux bois treehouse. Another Dionicio Rodriguez, you ask? Close. His great nephew Carlos Cortez has carried on the tradition and his work can be seen throughout the city. If you walk down to the far end of the complex you will see a stunning metal gate done by San Antonio native George Schroeder. If you do go in, be sure and ask to see the Borglum sculpture. Promise of a large work commissioned by the Texas Cattle Drivers Association is actually what brought him to San Antonio in the first place. The piece you will see here was a model for a much larger finished product he envisioned. The group was not able to come up with the funds and this piece is all we are left with.