A Confluence of Photographs
Saying Goodbye to Germantown

"...For the hundreds of families and small businesses uprooted in the mid-sixties for the benefit of tourism and improved traffic flow, it brought heartache and helplessness. Gone would be nightly card games with long-time neighbors, the corner grocery, the barber shop and ice cream shop, and the Polish church and school." Excerpt from, "Memories of Peach Street," by Lee Grant, grandson of a neighborhood resident.

Many Germantown residents felt devastated by the city's 1963 decision to construct an international fairgrounds and civic center on the very spot where they had lived, shopped, and worshipped - some for generations. In Urban Renewal Area 5, originally a 1,130-acre segment of downtown, the 92.6 acre HemisFair site encompassed the area bounded by S. Alamo on the West, Commerce Street on the North, the right of way for the new expressway (IH-37) on the East, and the soon-to-be extended Durango Boulevard (now Cesar E. Chavez) on the South.

The following narratives were written by volunteer Lee Grant, who reflects on some neighborhood experiences and memories. Click on the title to see a typed transcript of his recollections.

Peach Street
Groos House

About this Image:
1) The Germantown neighborhood was described as "a quiet [residential] pocket in the downtown." Here, a woman stands on the sidewalk outside a well-tended house at 123 Wyoming Street in April of 1965.

2) This map of the HemisFair area is color-coded to show the location of the acequia(blue line), plus commercial (pink) and public (light blue) properties that occupied the neighborhood prior to the fair. Adapted by Elizabeth Pople, original map from the City of San Antonio.

Courtesy of San Antonio Conservation Society Foundation
Click to Enlarge
Hemisfair Neighborhood Map2) Map of Hemisfair Neighborhood