A Photographic Guide to the Many Faces of Alamo Plaza
The southeast corner of the plaza saw some of the earliest significant development in the form of the Menger Hotel (1859) and the Gallagher Building (1877), yet the open, dirt space on which they fronted remained particularly uninviting. In 1890, former postmaster James Newcomb remarked on the newly landscaped plaza's transformation from "an unsightly mudhole into a circle, laid off in an artistic manner" that "[made our] plazas attractive places for strangers...as well as for our citizens, where they [could] see and meet each other and enjoy our climate" ("Neat Compliment").

The addition of both street paving and a landscaped park turned the center of the plaza into a place of leisure and entertainment that was also convenient to the retail and commerce surrounding it.

About this Image:
These three images show the transformation of the plaza from "mudhole" to park:
1.) The top image is a photograph of Alamo Plaza looking southeast. From left to center are: the Menger Hotel, St. Joseph's Catholic Church, and the Gallagher Building (center), which stands on the corner of Blum and Alamo Streets. The block of Alamo Street behind the Gallagher Building consists of very modest structures prior to Joske's store relocating to the far corner at Commerce Street.

The west side of the street features (from back to front): the Dullnig Building (octagonal tower); the Scholz Saloon (tower with mansard roof); Dreiss Druggist; a dry goods store; and the roof of the Crockett Block. A mule-drawn streetcar travels up Alamo Street towards the unpaved plaza, where horse-drawn carriages crowd in front of the Menger Hotel and along Blum Street.

2.) Looking southwest through the central landscaped park. Men in suits hurry along the sidewalk near the Plaza Theater at the far left. A boy wearing knickers stops to pose for this picture against a backdrop of busy shops, including: Frank Bros., - Jewelry Co., Mecca Café No. 2, Wigwam Fruit, Cinderella Shoes, and the Fox Co.

3.) Looking west towards Crockett Street at a group of six women posing in front of a palm tree. Visible in the background on the left is the Reuter Building, and on the right is the turret of the Grand Opera House.

To Learn More:
Courtesy of the San Antonio Conservation Society Foundation, Raba Collection.
Click to Enlarge
2.)     c. 19212.) c. 1921
3.)     19173.) 1917