The Conservation Society of San Antonio
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Save the Woolworth Building!

The front of the Woolworth Building on Alamo Plaza.
San Antonio’s Woolworth Building is one of three U.S. sites on the 2020 World Monuments Watch List.

See events and media coverage at Latest Woolworth Building News.

 

Color postcard looking west on Houston Street from Alamo Plaza. Woolworth Building on left.
The Woolworth Building (left), c. 1957.

About the Woolworth Building

Prominently located on Alamo Plaza across from the Alamo, the Woolworth Building stands as a visible link to an important Civil Rights achievement.  In 1960, it helped San Antonio become the site of the first peaceful, voluntary lunch counter integration of the national sit-in movement.  Learn more with this printable brochure.

Cause For Concern

Since the 2016 rediscovery of the building’s historic significance, advocates have been trying to persuade the State of Texas to reuse the building (or at least its facades) as part of the new Alamo museum planned for this site. After the 2018 Alamo Interpretive Plan cast doubt on the building’s fate, the Conservation Society joined with allies in the African American and Hispanic communities to form the Coalition for the Woolworth Building.

In 2019, the Conservation Society released a Coalition-backed compromise proposal.  It illustrated how multiple layers of the plaza’s 300-year-old history could be interpreted while retaining the Woolworth Building’s walls. The Society of Architectural Historians sent a letter to Governor Greg Abbott supporting this solution. In October, an international panel elevated the Woolworth Building to the world stage by including it on the World Monuments Fund’s 2020 Watch List.

Please join this global preservation effort by contacting the government officials listed on the left!   

World Monuments Fund CEO speaks out from Alamo Plaza


Benedicte de Montlaur interview courtesy of David Arias-Rios, Jan. 31, 2020.

“World Monuments advocate touts keeping Woolworth site” – San Antonio Express-News, Jan 31.

About the World Monuments Watch List

The 2020 World Monuments Watch helps communities protect their irreplaceable sites for future generations. The Woolworth Building is one of 25 international sites (and just one of three in the U.S.) on the 2020 Watch list.

We are included in this powerful World Monuments Fund video, and have been featured in the New York Times, and on CNN.  Many thanks to Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff for his steadfast support!

However, even as we celebrate this milestone, we must stay active as preservation advocates.  None of the building’s historic designations – local, state, or national – can prevent demolition. Please: 

    • Continue to contact government officials.
    • Help share our story on social media with these tags and handles:  #WorldMonumentsFund #WMF.  Twitter and Facebook: @worldmonuments, Instagram: @worldmonumentsfund.

 

2019 Milestones

October

Woolworth Building selected as one of 25 World Monuments Watch sites for 2020! This international listing recognizes that our site combines great historical significance with contemporary social impact.

Our ofrenda for Mary Andrews, a local Civil Rights heroine, won second prize at Muertos Fest in Hemisfair.

August

The Society of Architectural Historians wrote to Gov. Greg Abbott supporting our cause.

The Coalition for the Woolworth Building enthusiastically welcomed the San Antonio Branch NAACP as an official affiliate.

July

View video – Conservation Society Executive Director Vincent Michael and historian Everett Fly, representing the Coalition for the Woolworth Building, discussed the importance of preserving San Antonio’s Civil Rights sites with Randy Beamer on WOAI News 4.

May

The Texas Historical Commission gave San Antonio an extra reason to celebrate May as Preservation Month.  Members voted unanimously to approve the Woolworth Building’s State Antiquities Landmark designation.  This honor not only officially recognized the building’s ties to national Civil Rights history, but granted the building an additional level of protection under the Texas Antiquities Code.

Other ways to help

Contact the Following Government Officials

Only ongoing, visible, and vocal public support for preservation may help persuade the GLO to reuse the Woolworth Building as part of the new Alamo museum.

Governor Greg Abbott
Phone: (512) 463-2000 (Main Switchboard: 8AM – 5PM)

George P. Bush, Commissioner, Texas General Land Office
Phone: 1-800-998-4GLO (4456)

Representative Barbara Gervin-Hawkins (State Culture, Recreation & Tourism Committee)
Phone: (512) 463-0708 (Capitol) or (210) 333-0245 (District Office)

Senator José Menéndez (District 26 – Downtown San Antonio)
Phone: (512) 463-0126 (Capitol) or (210) 733-6604 (District Office)

Representative Diego Bernal (District 123 – Downtown San Antonio)
Phone: (512) 463-0532 (Capitol) or (210) 308-9700 (District Office)

Representative Will Hurd (U.S. District 23 and Alamo Management Committee)
Phone: (210) 921-3130

Councilman Roberto Treviño (City of San Antonio, Council District 1 and Alamo Management Committee Chair)
Phone: (210) 207-7279

Supporters of preserving the Woolworth Building carry a banner and signs in the MLK March
The Coalition for the Woolworth Building sends a message during the 2020 MLK March.

Our Coalition

The Coalition for the Woolworth Building is a grass-roots advocacy group. We support the preservation of the Woolworth Building and want to build on its presence in Alamo Plaza to share an integrated history that includes African Americans. Members include: San Antonio Branch NAACP; San Antonio African American Community Archives and Museum; San Antonio for Growth on the East Side; Esperanza Peace and Justice Center; Westside Preservation Alliance; National Institute of Mexican American History of Civil Rights; concerned historians, civic leaders, and community members; and The Conservation Society of San Antonio.

Group photo of Woolworth Watch Day attendess.
Watch Day attendees come together to support the Woolworth Building on Feb. 1, 2020.

 

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