San Antonio Cityscape Shutterstock image #664125574
The Texana/Genealogy Department has many useful tools for neighborhood researchers including city directories, Sanborn fire insurance maps and Service Bulletin journals. The library has a collection of San Antonio city directories from 1877 up to the present that contain information on where people lived and businesses were located and can also help determine when new streets were created or when streets changed their names. Sanborn fire insurance maps are detailed maps that can be used to study how neighborhoods evolved over time during the early to mid 20th century. The Texana/Genealogy Department has a series of hard copies of San Antonio Sanborn maps from 1932-1971, a printed general index (Texana 912.764 General), and access to digital copies through the SAPL database Texas Digital Sanborn Maps. Service Bulletins (1925-2009) put out by the San Antonio Builders Exchange list commercial and residential construction projects and can help identify architects, builders and developers. The Department also has books on neighborhoods and over thirty vertical files of newspaper clippings on neighborhoods, neighborhood conservation districts and historical districts across the city.
Neighborhood Planning Documents - book list of thirty two neighborhood planning books in the Texana Collection
The King William Association Records collection is composed of 24 linear feet dating between 1952 and 2018. It contains correspondence, photographs and printed materials with information on the King William Historic District neighborhood. Of particular interest are files on homes and businesses in the area with pictures and information on over 350 homes. Also included are research files used by Mary Burkholder in compiling her two books on the history of the area, The King William Area: A History and Guide to the Houses (976.4351 Burkholder) and Down the Acequia Madre in the King William Historic District (976.41 Burkholder), and background on King William Fiesta celebrations. It came to the Texana/Genealogy Department in the late 1990s from the offices of the King William Association with additional materials from long-time neighborhood resident and San Antonio historian Maria Watson Pfeiffer.
The Monte Vista Neighborhood Research Collection, 1890-1999 (4.5 linear ft.) contains research materials used by Dr. Donald Everett (1920-2004) when he was working on his 1999 book San Antonio's Monte Vista: Architecture and Society in a Gilded Age, 1890-1930 (728.09764 Everett). Dr. Everett was a history professor at Trinity University for almost 40 years and served as chair of the department from 1967-1981. He and his wife were founding members of the Monte Vista Neighborhood Association in 1973 and he was instrumental in getting the neighborhood designated as a National Register Historic District in 1998. He conducted extensive field surveys of homes in the neighborhood recording details on architects, builders and initial residents. The collection includes printed materials, information from his field surveys, photographs, and classified real estate ads and newspaper articles from the San Antonio Express and Light from the late 19th and early 20th centuries on neighborhood area homes, schools and businesses.
The Beacon Hill Area Neighborhood Association Records collection, 1978-2019 (7.5 ft.) came to the Texana Department in 2013 from the President of the Association, Cynthia Spielman. In 2005 the City of San Antonio designated Beacon Hill as a Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD), an enhanced zoning classification that enforces architectural, landscaping and infrastructure design standards. The collection includes correspondence, subject files, newsletters and newspaper articles, maps and photographs. Among the photographs are pictures of bungalow homes in the neighborhood used in a series of popular fund-raising calendars put out by the Association between 2004 and 2012. The collection also contains information on parks and greenways and businesses in the area.
The San Antonio Development Agency Urban Renewal Records collection, 1958-1992 (20.5 linear ft.) contains information on San Antonio urban renewal projects from the late 1950s through the early 1990s. Included in the collection are reports, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, slide films and photographs. Some project file notebooks have before-and-after pictures of San Antonio homes and businesses that were demolished on the east side, downtown and the west side; ten of these notebooks documenting the displacement of individuals, families and businesses by urban renewal projects from 1958-1972 have been digitized and are available online through the Portal to Texas History. Also of interest are aerial photos taken from 1962-1969 by commercial photographer Ray Howell and other unidentified photographers and photos taken in 1973 by photographer John Poindexter, who went on to become the official staff photographer for UTSA. The Howell photos include over 50 matted 16 x 20 black and white pictures of downtown San Antonio taken in the early 1960s before the area was cleared out for the 1968 HemisFair World's Fair;
San Antonio Neighborhood Associations
This list is not comprehensive but is a sample of neighborhood associations from across the city.
Jefferson Heights (East Side)