San Antonio Conservation Society
Milestones
Who We Are > Milestones

2014

Nomination of San Antonio’s five Spanish Colonial Missions as a World Heritage Site is submitted to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), representing the culmination of roughly eight years of work by the Society, National Park Service, Los Compadres, the Archdiocese of San Antonio, and others.

The Society pledges $100,000 (to be paid over four years) to assist Los Compadres in forming an endowment for the Mission San Juan Spanish Colonial Farm: the only Spanish Colonial demonstration farm in the United States that utilizes the original historic farmlands.

2015

The Society begins the quest to find potential buyers and to obtain a preservation easement for the historic Krause property on Old Pearsall Road.

San Antonio Conservation Society Janet Dietel elected president.

Negotiations underway for the Southwest Independent School District to acquire the Krause House, also known as the Mann’s Crossing Post Office, as a learning tool for students at the adjacent school.

Nine years’ worth of collaborative work by the Society pays off as ICOMOS endorses the missions’ World Heritage nomination in May. On July 5, the World Heritage Committee awards World Heritage status to the San Antonio missions, the only U.S. site to be considered during the 39th session in Bonn, Germany.

2016

The Society joins with other preservation advocates to block the University of the Incarnate Word’s attempt to lease land from the San Antonio Independent School District to build a dormitory/parking garage near Alamo Stadium in Brackenridge Park.

The Society’s Capital Club funds Everett L. Fly, a San Antonio landscape architect and 2014 National Humanities Medal recipient, to produce a National Register nomination for historic African-American communities in Bexar County.

Preservation Texas names the Woolworth Building and the Confluence Theater/John H. Wood, Jr. Courthouse, which the Society had nominated, to its 2016 list of Texas’ Most Endangered Historic Places.

Executive Director Bruce MacDougal retires after 25 years of service.

The Society hires Vincent L. Michael, PhD, an internationally recognized leader, scholar, author and project manager in heritage conservation, to be executive director.

2011

In response to the City Council approving the renaming of historic Durango Boulevard to César E. Chávez Boulevard, the Society files a lawsuit against the City, claiming the Council violated the procedure for renaming streets established by City ordinance. The lawsuit results in a negotiated settlement. The City renames the street, but the Society succeeds in getting the ordinance governing street name changes amended.

The Society partners with Merced Housing Texas and the City’s Office of Historic Preservation to create a revolving fund Historic Acquisition Program. This program will use federal funds to purchase, rehabilitate, and sell endangered historic houses to low to moderate income buyers.

San Antonio Conservation Society Nancy Avellar elected president.

The Society urges the preservation of the 1922 Grayburg Gas Station #12, which had not been previously identified by the Society’s 1983-1986 historic gas station survey. When the owner decides to demolish the building, the Society creates a Historic Gas Station Survey Committee tasked with updating and expanding the original survey.

2012

The Society applies for State Archeological Landmark designation and local landmark designation for Alamo Stadium, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in September, 2011. The designations will ensure additional oversight at the state and local level for bond-funded renovations proposed by SAISD.

The use of the Wood Courthouse and the Institute of Texan Cultures, two of HemisFair ‘68’s permanent buildings, is not addressed in the HemisFair Park Master Plan. The Society advocates for the buildings’ retention and rehabilitation, emphasizing their historical significance by including them in the National Historic Preservation Month Symposium, “Mid-Century Modern: It’s About Time.

The City proposes changing the name of El Paso Street, which, like Durango Boulevard, was named in 1881. The Society presents the history and significance of this thematic group of West Side streets named for places in Mexico (El Paso del Norte) and requests an “honorary” name-change only, which the City adopts.

2013

The Society becomes the chief private sector opponent of a 26-story tower that developers propose to build on top of the historic Joske’s Building in Alamo Plaza. When the City Manager grants conditional approval, going against the denial recommended by the Historic and Design Review Commission, the Society highlights its concerns in a full-page ad in the May 26, 2013 edition of the San Antonio Express-News titled, “Big Money Talks.”

The Society joins with other preservationists to successfully lobby for the passage of the Texas Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit. This important new program provides additional incentive for private capital investment in historic buildings throughout the state.

The Society presents documentation to the Historic Design and Review Commission (HDRC) that the 1955 KCOR (Univision) radio and television station is significant for both its architectural design and for its association with the first commercially viable television broadcast channel catering exclusively to the Hispanic community in the United States. Apartment developer Greystar seeks conceptual approval for a new, 350-unit apartment building on this same site. Ignoring the Society’s request for landmark designation, the HDRC grants conceptual approval of the apartment project, which calls for the station’s demolition.

San Antonio Conservation Society Sue Ann Pemberton elected president.

The Society requests and receives a determination of eligibility for listing the KCOR (Univision) building in the National Register of Historic Places from the Texas Historical Commission. The National Trust for Historic Preservation provides additional support against demolition of the building. Despite support for designation at the state and national level, the Historic Design and Review Commission denies the Society’s application for local landmark designation and the Board of Adjustment later declines to hear the Society’s appeal of that decision. As a result, developer Greystar begins demolition of the KCOR (Univision) building. Ultimately, the Society takes the City to court over the procedures followed in rejecting landmark designation. City Council later authorizes a new Cultural Historian position in the Office of Historic Preservation. In the future, the City’s Cultural Historian will be responsible for investigating the cultural significance of properties affected by proposed development / demolition action.

2007

The Society works with the City’s preservation office to save comedian Carol Burnett’s childhood home on West Commerce Street. A local non-profit moves the c. 1905 Queen Anne style house eight blocks for use as an after-school learning center.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyMarcie Ince elected president

The Society joins with Scenic America and Scenic Texas to oppose a pilot program that will allow 15 digital billboards to be erected in San Antonio. Despite the Society’s efforts to persuade the city council to preserve the city’s scenic and urban corridors, only one city councilman votes against the pilot program.
The Society convinces the Board of Directors for the Bexar Metropolitan Water District to place a preservation easement on the 1848 James Trueheart House, its outbuildings, and the surrounding land prior to the sale of the property. The easement, which will be binding on all successive owners, will protect the historic integrity of the site.

2008

The Society opposes consideration of the Maverick Ranch-Fromme Farm as a potential site for the proposed Upper Leon Creek Regional Storm Water Detention Facility. The Maverick Ranch-Fromme Farm is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as a wildlife preserve for two endangered species of birds.

The Society invites community leaders interested in Brackenridge Park to work with the Society, the Parks Department and the City in forming a conservancy. The Brackenridge Park Conservancy incorporates in September to act as a steward and an advocate to preserve and enhance the park’s resources.

With the guidance of Marcie Ince, the Society developments a business level of support for historic preservation through donations: The Capital Club.

As a result of a spike in the demolition of historic buildings, including the 1929 Jorrie Building and residences in the Tobin Hill Historic District, the Society works with the City Manager’s Office and the City Attorney to change the city’s emergency demolition process in the city code.
The Society obtains local landmark designation for ten historic farms and ranches, including five city-owned and five private ranches.

2009

The Society takes a stand against the sale of Healy-Murphy Park, which includes the historic Dullnig-Schneider House, on the city’s East Side.
The Society participates in the creation of the international award-winning River North Master Plan, which included a survey of potential historic landmarks in the river improvements project area. The master plan won the Charter Award given for the Congress for New Urbanism in June.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyRollette Schreckenghost-Smith elected president

2010

The Society, working with Scenic San Antonio, proves successful at holding the line on digital billboards, with the number in San Antonio now capped at the original 13 erected as part of a City Council approved pilot program in 2007.

The Society joins with the San Antonio Zoo, Parks Foundation, Brackenridge Park Conservancy and Friends of the Parks to successfully oppose the proposed lease of land at the northern edge of Brackenridge Park. The proposed lease would go against the designated land use in the Brackenridge Master Plan adopted by the City in 1979.

The Hays Street Bridge, which the Society helped to save through its fundraising efforts, opens as a hike and bike trail connecting the East Side to downtown in July.

Lerma’s Nite Club, the oldest continuously operated venue for conjunto music in South Texas, receives the Society’s help to secure a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This grant covers the cost of a structural engineer’s report; the first step in preserving this historic property, which is eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.

Contributing to the Cause

1996

Saving San Antonio: The Precarious Preservation of a Heritage, by Lewis F. Fisher, published documenting the official history of the Conservation Society.

Conservation Society files a friend of the court brief supporting the City of Boerne in its Supreme Court case against Archbishop Patrick Flores to preserve the historic Saint Peter the Apostle Catholic Church.

1997

San Antonio Conservation SocietyPaula D. Piper elected president.

Conservation Society completes a survey of historic SAISD schools in conjunction with the district’s $483 million bond issue to update and renovate school buildings.

1998

Project ReNew rehabilitation work begins with a demonstration project to revitalize an inner-city neighborhood south of Five Points.

Conservation Society commissions a conceptual/reuse plan for development of the endangered Ellis Alley area on the East Side.

1999

Conservation Society develops design guidelines for Houston Street revitalization in conjunction with developer Federal Realty Investment Trust.

The city receives a gift of $67,145 from the Conservation Society for the construction of iron fences around the city cemeteries on East Commerce Street.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyLoyce Ince elected president.

Conservation Society donates $21,000 towards the restoration of the historic San Juan Acequia to maintain rights to the water that historically irrigated Mission San Juan Capistrano and its adjacent farmlands.

2000

A Programmatic Agreement with Kelly Air Force Base, co-signed by the Conservation Society, leads to the listing of the base’s historic Bungalow Colony on the National Register of Historic Places.

Conservation Society receives an Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement Award from the American Institute of Architects, recognizing the Society for over 75 years of beneficial influence on the architectural profession.

Demolition of the 1926 dormitory Mary Catherine Hall at Assumption Seminary results in city commitment to a historic structures survey within the historic 36-mile boundary of San Antonio. Conservation Society contributes $50,000 towards project.

2001

Hays Street Bridge linking downtown to city’s East Side from 1910 to 1982 designated a Texas Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. Conservation Society later contributes $50,000 towards reuse of the bridge as part of a hike and bike trail.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyJill Harrison Souter elected president.

President George W. and First Lady Laura Bush attend the dedication of the restored gristmill at the San José Granary.

Conservation Society opposition fails to stop Museo Americano from obtaining approval to demolish the original arches on the 1920’s Centro de Artes Building, a city-owned landmark in Market Square.

“Conservation Conversations”, a Conservation Society sponsored speakers’ series on historic preservation and urban development, is launched. Featured speakers include: authors Roberta Brandes Gratz and Dwight Young, plus Charleston mayor Joseph P. Riley.

2002

Despite a $50,000 challenge grant offered by the Society towards the purchase of La Gloria, a unique 1928 West Side gas station with a rooftop dance floor, the building is demolished to make room for a commercial diesel mechanic shop.

Hidalgo Foundation receives $300,000 for the restoration of the Bexar County Courthouse from the Conservation Society.

The Society Journal receives the Award of Excellence at the International Association of Business Communicators annual Bronze Quill Awards.

2003

The Society urges the City and the Director of the Texas Department of Transportation to enforce rules against illegal off-premise billboard signage along the U.S. Highway 281 corridor.

The Society joins other interested parties in lobbying the City to restore the name of Durango Boulevard, resulting in street signs with the original street name coupled with a designation honoring Judge H.F. Garcia.

Historic John Palmer Leeper house relocated from the grounds of the McNay Art Museum to Mitchell Lake for use as a Wildlife Refuge Center through the efforts of the Conservation Society, the City, the San Antonio Water System, and the Mitchell Lake Wetlands Society.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyLoretta Huddleston elected president.

The Society works with the City to revise the design for an addition to the Stinson Field terminal so that the original Art Deco façade will remain visible from the street.

2004

Historical Society of Leon Valley receives a $6,000 grant from the Conservation Society for further stabilization of the Huebner-Onion House, a former stagecoach stop.

The Society urges the city to enforce demolition by neglect provisions for the Toudouze Buildings at 711 and 721 West Commerce, resulting in a covenant on the property requiring the owner to construct a “reasonable facsimile” of the demolished buildings on the site.

The Society awards $10,000 to the Witte Museum for the preservation of the Hertzberg Circus Collection.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyBarbara Johnson elected president.

Conservation Society files an unsuccessful lawsuit against Board of Adjustment for allowing the move of a portable classroom building into the Government Hill Historic District as housing.

2005

“Trails to Treasure” benefit chaired by the Society’s second Vice President helps to raise funds for restoration of the Hays Street Bridge.

The Society coordinates the stabilization of the adobe Bergara–Le Compte House on Guadalupe Street using funds provided by the City and the Texas Historical Commission.

The City makes successful legal claim to Miraflores Park, the historic retreat created by Dr. Aureliano Urrutia, with help from a land survey paid for by the Conservation Society.

In keeping with its position against changing the historic names of streets, the Society protests changing Laredo Street to Goodwill Way.

2006

The Society supports limiting formula restaurants on the River Walk, as well as a ban on commercial vendors, in order to preserve the unique character of one of the state’s leading tourist attractions.

The Society opposes any permanent closing of the streets on Main Plaza as proposed by the City in its redesign, citing the disruption of the circulation pattern as contrary to the historic function of the plaza laid out by the Spanish Law of the Indies.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyVirginia S. Nicholas elected president.

The Society attempts to rally opposition to the proposed demolition of two significant historic landmarks on East Houston Street with an on-site press conference. Despite this effort, the Historic Design and Review Commission votes to allow the demolition of the historic Walgreen’s and the Stuart’s Buildings.

The Society, assisted by Los Compadres and the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, takes the lead in initiating the missions’ World Heritage nomination. Virginia S. Nicholas, also serving as Bexar County Historical Commission Chairman, organizes the working group responsible for the nomination.

Cutting Deals

1984

City rededicates Municipal Auditorium, restored with bond issue funds after fire.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyBebe Canales Inkley elected president.

1985

Three-story brick Fairmount Hotel moved six blocks to new site near La Villita, setting world record for largest hotel moved. Conservation Society negotiations saved building from demolition to make way for Rivercenter Mall.

A Night in Old San Antonio annual profits for historic preservation first exceed $500,000.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyJanet Wheat Francis elected president.

1986

Restored and enlarged Fairmount Hotel dedicated.

Conservation Society launches “Save the Mother House” public relations campaign to persuade the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word to preserve the 1899 Alfred Giles designed Mother House at the Incarnate Word campus.

1987

San Antonio Conservation SocietyLiz Davies elected president.

1988

City preservation ordinances strengthened.

Blue Bonnet Hotel, site of early country, blues, and Hispanic recordings, razed despite Conservation Society’s efforts to convince City Council to uphold terms of new preservation ordinance.

Restored Franklin House dedicated on San Antonio Academy campus. Conservation Society donated over $291,000 towards restoration of this rare Queen Anne shingle-style house designed by noted architect J. Riely Gordon.

Aztec Theater purchased by Conservation Society.

Mother House on Incarnate Word campus demolished despite two years of effort by Conservation Society and other preservation organizations.

1989

Majestic Theater reopens as home of San Antonio Symphony, restoration by Las Casas Foundation aided by $250,000 from Conservation Society.

San Antonio Conservation Society Jane Foster elected president.

1990

Conservation Society convinces city not to eliminate Historic Preservation Office and agrees to contribute $20,000 to the Historic Design and Review Office, to be matched by the city, for the next five years.

1991

Sunday morning demolition of Finck Building inspires Tejeda Bill, toughening state laws on illegal demolition of historic structures.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyInell Schooler elected president.

Conservation Society’s Fort Sam Houston Task Force completes a memorandum of agreement involving five other organizations in the study and management of ‘cultural and historical resources’ at Fort Sam Houston.

1992

Fort Sam Houston quadrangle restored, followed by start of $100.3 million program to restore post’s 934 historic buildings.

1993

City’s master plan includes historic preservation requirements shaped by Conservation Society’s participation in the city’s Master Plan Task Force.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyMarianna Jones elected president.

Conservation Society sells Aztec Theater with restoration covenants.

1994

Conservation Society pledges $300, 000 toward restoration of San Pedro Playhouse.

1995

Renovation of Robert E. Lee Hotel for downtown housing begins, capping Conservation Society’s decade-long struggle to preserve the historic ten-story building.

Relocated Sullivan Carriage House dedicated at San Antonio Botanical Center. Conservation Society donated $100,000 towards moving and reassembly of endangered structure.

San Antonio Conservation SocietySally Matthews Buchanan elected president.

Grant of $100,000 from Conservation Society establishes Mary Ann Blocker Castleberry chair for teaching historic preservation in University of Texas at San Antonio graduate architecture program.

Conservation Society begins plans for Project ReNew, a collaborative effort between the Society and several public agencies, to assist the residents of a targeted neighborhood to rehabilitate their homes through a combination of funding sources and assistance programs.

Events from 1924 to 1995 excerpted from Saving San Antonio: The Precarious Preservation of a Heritage by Lewis F. Fisher.

Cutting Deals

1971

City settles property tax issue with Conservation Society.

Conservation Society holds its first historic preservation seminar.

San Antonio Conservation Society Vivian Hamlin (Terrett) elected president for the second time.

Rivas House abruptly leveled by Urban Renewal Agency. Conservation Society gets injunction to prevent agency from doing same to endangered Menger Soap Works, later restored by developer.

1972

Yturri-Edmunds Mill reconstruction completed.

1973

San Antonio Conservation SocietyBeverly Blount (-Hemphill) elected president.

1974

City revises historic districts and landmarks ordinances, hires former Conservation Society Historic Buildings Chairman, Pat Osborne, as city’s first Historic Preservation Officer.

Nation’s first federal grant for historic preservation given for Ursuline Academy restoration.

Conservation Society moves headquarters from La Villita into newly restored Wulff House on King William Street.

1975

San Antonio Conservation SocietyNancy Negley (Wellin) elected president.

Conservation Society sells its Ursuline Academy property to former minority owner, Southwest Craft Center, which begins restoration.

Conservation Society transfers Acequia Park to city, deeds Navarro House complex to Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

1976

Attendance first reaches 100,000 during four-night A Night in Old San Antonio, nation’s largest single historic preservation fund-raising event.

National landmark status attained for 500 acres of Fort Sam Houston.

Conservation Society purchases Gresser House in La Villita Historic District.

Conservation Society transfers Espada Aqueduct property to city.

Second San Antonio Missions National Park bill introduced in Congress by Congressman Abraham “Chick” Kazen.

1977

National Trust for Historic Preservation presents Crowninshield Award to San Antonio Conservation Society for national impact on historic preservation activities.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyMary Ann Blocker Castleberry elected president.

1978

Reuter Building façade is first façade donated to Conservation Society foundation and restored.

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park bill passed by Congress following last-minute lobbying by Conservation Society members.

1979

Purchase and preservation of Staacke and Stevens buildings on Commerce Street is negotiated.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyJoanna Parrish elected president.

1981

Conservation Society hires an advertising agency to help promote $9.1 million bond issue for restoration of fire-damaged Municipal Auditorium, which passes by two to one margin.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyPeggy Penshorn elected president.

Conservation Society negotiates Rand Building purchase and resale for preservation. As part of agreement, Steumke Barn is relocated to Wulff House grounds and ten-story Stowers Building is dynamited.

1982

Hertzberg Clock at Houston and St. Mary’s streets donated to Conservation Society.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyLynn Osborne Bobbitt elected president.

Only façade of Texas Theater remains in RepublicBank building project, despite preservationists’ pleas.

1983

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park opened.

Albert Maverick Building, oldest on Houston Street downtown, saved.
First Night in Old San Antonio poster commissioned from atrist Caroline Shelton.

Events from 1921 to 1995 excerpted from Saving San Antonio: The Precarious Preservation of a Heritage by Lewis F. Fisher.

Clashing Over Urban Redevelopment

1959

Conservation Society helps defeat multi-story tourist information center planned in Alamo Plaza.

San Antonio Conservation Society Lois Graves elected president.

Conservation Society purchases O. Henry House, sells it to be moved to Lone Star Brewery grounds.

1960

Conservation Society leads opposition in defeating city highway bond issue including North Expressway through Olmos Basin floodplain.

1961

Resubmitted North Expressway city bond issue passes. Conservation Society joins Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in lawsuit to stop expressway.

San Antonio Conservation Society Vivian Hamlin (Terrett) elected president.

Yturri-Edmunds House on Mission Road donated to Conservation Society.

1962

North Expressway right-of-way acquisition begins as litigation continues.

A Night in Old San Antonio annual profits for historic preservation first exceed $100,000.

1963

San Antonio Conservation SocietyLillian Maverick Padgitt elected president.

World’s Fair site chosen on property to be developed with urban renewal funds.

Mission Road improvements link Spanish Missions.

1964

German-English School restored as HemisFair headquarters.

Conservation Society, other San Juan acequia owners, win court battle with San Antonio River Authority to restore water flow in San Juan acequia.

Restored Navarro House complex opened to public.

1965

Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word drop North Expressway litigation with city, Conservation Society votes to carry on alone.

Conservation Society begins purchase of Old Ursuline academy complex.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyPeggy Tobin elected president.

Conservation Society passes a resolution calling for twenty-two historic buildings within the HemisFair area to be preserved and incorporated into the fair site.

1966

U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough gets amendment to block unreasonable transfer of parkland for expressways, another to require maximum preservation of historic HemisFair site structures. U.S. Department of Commerce chooses Conservation Society to oversee preservation of HemisFair sites.

1967

Conservation Society sues to halt North Expressway project.

City of San Antonio sues Conservation Society for unpaid property taxes.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyLorraine Reaney elected president.

City of San Antonio adopts its first historic zoning ordinance.

First San Antonio Missions National Historical Park legislation introduced in Congress by Congressman Abraham “Chick” Kazen.

1968

Restored buildings on grounds draw wide praise during six-month HemisFair, which also provides city with modern convention center.

La Villita territory enlarged as part of HemisFair urban renewal project.

Lita Price elected president.

A Night in Old San Antonio presented at second American Folklife Festival on Capitol Mall in Washington.

1969

San Antonio Conservation SocietyPinkie Martin elected president.

Two-year Historic American Buildings Survey of San Antonio landmarks is completed with Conservation Society paying one-third of the cost.

1970

San Antonio Conservation Society Foundation established to own and manage society properties.

Conservation Society drops litigation against North Expressway, which opens eight years later as McAllister Freeway.

Events from 1921 to 1995 excerpted from Saving San Antonio: The Precarious Preservation of a Heritage by Lewis F. Fisher.

Clashing Over Urban Redevelopment

1947

Blum Street neighborhood of adobe houses razed for Joske’s parking despite appeal of Conservation Society and other local organizations.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyMary Kenney elected president.

1948

Conservation Society begins annual preservation awards program.

San Pedro Park kept from becoming junior college campus after the Conservation Society’s resolution on the subject is sent to the mayor and city commissioners.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyAgnes Virginia Temple elected president.

1949

Conservation Society purchases Bombach building at Villita and South Alamo streets.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyFloy Edwards Fontaine elected president.

1951

San Antonio Conservation SocietyEthel Wilson Harris elected president.

Texas Under Six Flags theme used for Conservation Society master plan to save endangered landmarks.

German-English School placed under Conservation Society custody.

1952

French style Guilbeau House (1847) sold by city and razed, despite earlier promises to save it as museum.

Outcry fails to prevent razing of 1859 Vance House, deemed one of state’s finest buildings, for Federal Reserve branch bank.

Steves Homestead at 509 King William Street donated to Conservation Society by Edna Steves Vaughan.

1953

Conservation Society begins eight years of Arbor Day tree sales.

Conservation Society begins campaign to save Jose Antonio Navarro House complex.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyEleanor Freeborn Bennett elected president.

City plans underground parking garages beneath Travis Park, Main Plaza, Alamo Plaza and part of La Villita. Conservation Society backs suit filed by Maverick heirs to avoid 1,100-car Travis Park garage contract.

1954

Restored Steves Homestead opens to public as house museum.

Second night added to A Night in Old San Antonio in La Villita.

1955

Court rules against Conservation Society-backed Travis Park suit, but Good Government league sweeps to city hall victory and Travis Park garage contract is voided.

A Night in Old San Antonio attendance exceeds 10,000.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyWanda Graham Ford elected president.

1956

Third night added to A Night in Old San Antonio

1957

Texas Supreme Court rules Travis Park garage contract illegal under city charter, ending threat of garages beneath city parks.

Conservation Society purchases 25 acres near Espada dam for Acequia Park.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyHelen Bechtel elected president.

1958

Fourth night added to A Night in Old San Antonio in La Villita.

Feeding The Golden Goose

1924

Artists Rena Maverick Green and Emily Edwards organize San Antonio Conservation Society to save 1859 Market House and the city’s cultural heritage, Emily Edwards elected president. Conservation Society may be first group in nation to seek preservation of both the historic built environment and the natural environment.

Conservation Society seeks option on lands around all missions for parks under leadership of Rena Maverick Green.

1925

City razes 1859 Market House for street widening, San Antonio River flood-control channel planned through site.

Conservation Society and DRT Alamo Chapter co-sponsor public meeting seeking purchase of remaining privately owned property adjoining Alamo church.

1926

Witte Museum, city’s first public museum, opens with backing of Conservation Society. The Society is one of three local cultural organizations to occupy exhibit space in the new museum.

Last original doors of San José Mission Granary become Conservation Society’s first property.

1927

San Antonio Conservation SocietyAnna Ellis, then Margaret Lewis, elected president.

1929

Conservation Society endorses Robert Hugman’s river beautification plan.

Conservation Society begins purchasing San José Mission Granary property.

New San Pedro Playhouse replicates façade design of razed Market House.

1931

Conservation Society completes purchase of San José Mission Granary and begins restoration.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyAmanda Cartwright Taylor elected president.

1933

Rena Maverick Green elected president.

San José Mission Granary restoration completed.

1935

Congressman Maury Maverick seeks designation of San José Mission as national park.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyElizabeth Orynski Graham elected president.

1936

Restored San José Mission compound dedicated, City Public Service Company begins tour bus service.

Conservation Society purchases Espada Mission acequia aqueduct, the only Spanish structure of its type still in use in the United States.

Conservation Society holds first Indian Harvest Festival, precursor of a Night In Old San Antonio, on San José Mission plaza.

1937

San Antonio Conservation SocietyLee Upson Palfrey elected president.

1939

Mayor Maury Maverick begins federally funded La Villita restoration project.

Federally funded work begins on Robert Hugman’s River Bend beautification.

Amanda Taylor elected president for second time.

1940

Annual Indian Harvest Festival moved from San José to San Antonio River as a Jubilee promotion River Bend project.

1941

Conservation Society, Bexar County, and Catholic Church cooperate in transfer of San José mission compound property, except church, to State of Texas as state park. San José Mission is designated National Historic Site.

San Antonio Conservation SocietyMartha Camp elected president.

River Bend Project dedicated, Conservation Society celebrates with River Festival.

La Villita restoration dedicated.

1942

Conservation Society uses profits from its fall festival to put a down payment on the Dashiell House at 511 Villita Street.

1946

Conservation Society’s annual Fall River Festival moved to spring for Fiesta Week, later named A Night in Old San Antonio.

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