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Photographs for Historic Preservation

May 16, 2012

As we observe National Preservation Month, it is worth noting the contributions of UTSA Libraries Special Collections to the local conservation effort.  Recently Casa Navarro State Historic Site received a Historic Preservation Award from the San Antonio Conservation Society.  Among the accomplishments of the restoration project was the replication of the original windows of Navarro’s mercantile building.  A single photograph in theSan Antonio Light Collection was the only source of information available to the restoration architects.   Numerous other preservationists have utilized our photographs to restore buildings and homes.

According to the National Trust, this year’s theme for preservation month is “Discover America’s Hidden Gems.”  The following structures fit that category.  They they are not listed in architectural guides and usually go unnoticed.  Nevertheless, they are irreplaceable cultural resources in their neighborhoods.   Most have been remodeled in various ways since these images were made.  Perhaps these photographs will serve as a reference for future restoration efforts.


Southside Food Store, 620 Labor Street. Built in the 1930s, this grocery store served the neighborhood now known as the Lavaca Historic District. Today, the decorative tile on the lower front wall is all that remains of the distinctive façade. Zintgraff Studio Photograph Collection, MS 355: Z-0273-C-4.

First Church of Christ Scientist, 501 N. Alamo Street. The somber windowless façade of today contrasts with the polychrome walls and stained glass windows of the original 1915 design. General Photograph Collection, MS 362: 083-0526.

John and Ida Dreiss Koch Residence, 316 S. Pine Street. This early 1890s house is the last remaining 19th century structure on Dreiss Hill in the Denver Heights neighborhood. A modern addition on the front now obscures the original structure. General Photograph Collection, MS 362: 081-0213.

Dullnig Building, E. Commerce between Losoya and Alamo Streets. Though occupying a prominent location downtown, the architectural exuberance of this 1883 building has been lost with the removal of the towers and parapet. Harvey Belgin Photograph Collection, MS 353: B-13-C-1.

Kunkel’s Grocery, 1524 N. Main Avenue. In 1929, Atlee B. and Robert M. Ayres designed this suburban store as a replacement for the company’s downtown location. The Spanish arches were removed in a remodeling project. General Photograph Collection, MS 362: 083-0746.

Sabinas Brewery, 600 Lone Star Boulevard. After the building was purchased by Lone Star Brewery, the 1933 design, by Charles Aubin, was concealed by larger additions. Zintgraff Studio Photograph Collection, MS 355: Z-1425-A-1.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Paul Bubel permalink
    October 17, 2013 4:02 pm

    FYI, the Koch Residence at 316 S. Pine Street has been torn down.
    I have been doing a lot of before and afters and this building went down sometime within the 3 months is took me to finally get out there after finding the place through Google Street View.

    Commerce Street Bridge

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