Located on the south bank of the San Antonio River, La Villita was San Antonio’s first neighborhood. It was originally a settlement of primitive huts for the Spanish soldiers stationed at the Mission San Antonio Valero (the Alamo). After a flood in 1819, brick, stone and adobe houses replaced the earlier structures. In 1836, La Villita was the site of General Santa Ana’s cannon line in the Battle of the Alamo and a map from early that year showed the village 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 reflected in La Villita’s buildings. The architecture portrays the evolution of buildings from palisado to Victorian Houses.
The first part of the 20th century saw La Villita decline into a slum area. In 1939, as ground broke on the San Antonio River Walk development, city fathers led by Mayor Maury Maverick acted to preserve this colorful part of San Antonio’s history. Today La Villita is a thriving art community that stands as a monument to San Antonio’s past.
Take our walking tour. Tour maps available throughout La Villita.
National Register Historic District