SAN ANTONIO - The Spanish Governor’s Palace stands today in the heart of downtown San Antonio as one of the last visual remnants to the Spanish Colonial days in the early 18th century.
This week’s Throwback Thursday on KSAT News at 9 featured the palace. Here are a few interesting facts and information about the building.
1. It was founded in 1718 near the headwaters of the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek, and was the result of a rivalry between Spain and France in the early 1700s for dominance of the territory. Don Martin de Alarcon followed stringent orders from the Spanish king to get the presidio built.
“This was established as the original Presidio San Antonio de Bejar and it was the comandancia, which is the office and the home of the military garrison captain,“ said Colleen Swain, COSA director of the World Heritage Office.
2. More than 25,000 adobe bricks were used to construct the building, which took more than 25 years to complete. The presidio originally served as protection for the San Antonio Missions, including the Alamo.
3. In the early 1770s, the building became the capitol of the Texas region of Spanish Texas. In 1804, Ignacio Perez bought the building and his family lived there for decades.
During this time, Mexico gained its independence from Spain and Texas later became a state. The Perez property was leased in the late 1860s and went through several changes.
“It was handed down to his family in the 1920s (and) was used from everything from a schoolhouse to a produce shop, to a bar called the Hole-in-the-Wall saloon, to a tire shop,” said Swain.
4. Prominent San Antonio teacher, historian and preservationist Andina Emilia De Zavala worked with others to save the palace. De Zavala urged the city to buy the building and it was restored in the 1930s.
“It's actually one of the early success stories of San Antonio's historic preservation,” said Swain.
5. There are several ghost stories associated with the palace. One story includes children that still haunt the building and another story involves a girl who has been spotted down a well in the courtyard.
This year, KSAT’s "Haunting in South Texas" series will feature the palace. Stay tuned for more ghost stories and video this October.
6. The Spanish Governor’s Palace was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1970.
Today, it serves as a house museum and is open to the public for tours and other events. More than 20,000 people visit the palace annually. It’s also been called one of the most beautiful buildings in South Texas and a taste of what makes San Antonio unique.
“It's a beautiful building that we are entrusted with making sure that it remains standing and it's here for future generations,” said Swain.
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