A Photographic Guide to the Many Faces of Alamo Plaza
Prior to the construction of the Gallagher Building in 1877, the post office operated in a cramped building on Soledad Street, ill-suited to the growing volume of mail, but convenient to Main Plaza ("Post Office Question", 11/6/1877). The city's first female postmaster, Mrs. Margaret E. Norris (1876-1879), sought to remedy the situation by lobbying the Post Office Department in Washington, D.C. for a larger, dedicated structure to house the local post office.

When the federal agent arrived, he proceeded to sign a contract with Peter Gallagher for a new building at the southern end of Alamo Plaza without seeking public input. Gallagher agreed to put up $20,000 for construction ("Post Office Question", 11/4/1877), but the private manner in which the contract was handled caused an outcry among many prominent local businessmen. Chief among their complaints was the belief that the new post office would be too distant from the majority of businesses, which numbered 113 around Main and Military Plazas and only 21 east of the river.

However, not all businessmen objected. A counterargument was made that the new location would be more central to the greater residential population on the east side of town ("Post Office Question", 11/4/1877). Adherents of the Alamo Plaza location also noted that the area was fast becoming a desirable location for business, as evidenced by several unsuccessful attempts made by prominent men to buy out existing property owners, such as Wickes, Menger, Hugo and Schmeltzer. Eventually, enough businessmen supported the new post office, and it moved into the finished Gallagher Building.

About this Image:
Parade on Alamo Plaza, looking southeast towards the Gallagher Building (center) and Joske's (right). The steeple of Saint Joseph's Catholic Church is visible in the background. By 1890, the post office had moved to larger head-quarters once again, this time at the north end of the plaza.

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Courtesy of the San Antonio Conservation Society Foundation
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c. 1898c. 1898
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