When the Spaniards founded Mission San Antonio de Valero in 1718, Coahuiltecan Indians inhabited the area. The missionaries sought to Christianize these natives. By 1792 San Antonio de Valero, which is now known as the Alamo, was abandoned and become a military outpost. La Villita became a village of primitive huts for Spanish soldiers and their families. After a flood in 1819, brick, stone and adobe houses replaced the earlier structures.
In 1836 a map drawn before the fall of the Alamo showed La Villita to be of considerable size. Late in the 19th century European immigrants from Germany and France moved into the area. These pioneers became San Antonio's business leaders, bankers, educators, and craftsmen. The cultural mix that occurred at this time is best illustrated by the variety of architectural styles of the buildings now comprising La Villita.
Before the turn of the century most homes had their own wells for drinking water, but for washing purposes water was was hauled up from the river at 25 cents a barrel. The first part of the 20th century saw La Villita decline into a slum area. Then in 1939 city fathers, led by Mayor Maury Maverick, acted to preserve this colorful part of San Antonio's history. Today it stands as a monument to San Antonio's past.
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© 2007. Monte Wade Fine Arts Gallery. All
Open 10-6 Sunday - Wednesday, 10-8 Thursday - Saturday
418 Villita St. Bldg 1500 (in Historic La
Near the Riverwalk, Downtown San Antonio, Texas 78205