Government Hill Alliance
The Government Hill neighborhood is one of the oldest existing neighborhoods in San Antonio. following annexation in 1845, various offers of land for military post had been made to the U.S. Government from both the City of San Antonio and by private citizens, but the land offered was often low-lying and unhealthful. in 1807, a suitable donation of approximately 40 acres was made and accepted. the donated land was owned by St. Mary’s college, Southern School, and Thomas J. Devine. the tract was located “at the place where the government corral is at present,” being the western portion of the lots known as lot numbers 1, 2, and 3 in Range 1, District 2 of the city tract. This site became known unofficially as Government Hill.
Due to the disagreement over the exact location of the first donation, the city made a second donation of approximately 40 acres. This property was purchased from A.M. Dignowity as well as the estate of H. Polley. Shortly before construction of the government buildings was scheduled to begin, General Ord visited the site and declared it unacceptable because of high elevation and the distance from water sources. Ord selected a spot that had lower elevation and was closer to water and the proposed railway station. However, he considered the chosen area to be at a disadvantage since there were no home “within a mile” of the new location. In 1875, the city made a third donation, bringing the total amount of donated land to approximately 93 acres.
Construction on the Quadrangle began in 1876 and in 1879 the Quartermaster Department was able to move into its new quarter. In 1881, construction began on the fifteen sets of permanent officers’ quarters (known as the Staff Post) on the southwestern edge of the land. In 1882-83, the Army purchased more land in order to construct the barracks and additional officers’ quarters.
With the construction of living quarters for more of the army personnel, residential development in Government Hill began. Established in 1883, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church served as a chapel for soldiers at Ft. Sam Houston. Edwin Terrell, former US Ambassador to Belgium, built Lambermont in 1894 and General John L. Bullis built Bullis House just after the turn of the century. The original Incarnate Word Academy for young Women and the original Texas Military Academy were location in the neighborhood as were many saloons and entertainment establishments such as Muth’s Gardens.
While many of the landmarks are gone, a group of residents and property owners began working with the city to have the area designated as a historic district and they are now celebrating their success!
The Quadrangle in San Antonio, TX
The Quadrangle was the original fort at Sam Houston, and was designed without windows to better withstand attacks. It was originally a quartermaster’s depot, storing housing supplies, and later it became an arsenal for the US Army.