Celebrating 100 Years
Looking back in the past of San Antonio and the Postal Service in no particular order.


Bookmark and Share

San Antonio's FIRST Post Office (Click to enlarge)

La Quinta
118-120 Dwyer Street
Photograph shows exterior of La Quinta. Note doors on far left with slits that were made when building in 1847 became the first U.S. post office in San Antonio. Right portion of structure was used as residence by owner and postmaster, John Bowen.
In 1761 was named for the Fifth Company of Spanish soldiers quartered there.
(Click to enlarge)

This is a nice painting of La Quinta that was painted from the rear by Rolla Sims Taylor in 1918, four years before the building fell victim to the widening of Dwyer Avenue. Courtesy of the Whitte Museum. Bowen's Island on the left.
Rising above the southern end of the San Antonio River Bend was La Quinta, one of the city's notable Spanish landmarks.

San Antonio's THIRD Post Office (Click to enlarge)

In Old San Antonio, It Was a Big Day When Mail Came
On certain days during the late 1860s Slocunt's and Gamble's Commerce Street book store would be packed within minutes after opening. The crowds sometimes had to wait only minutes, though more often for hours. But the stay suddenly became well spent when someone caught sight of a clamorous horse-and-coach combination dust-flinging its way through town at break-neck speed, the stage coach bearing the mail from the East.
To read more Click Here

San Antonio's FIFTH Post Office (Click to enlarge)

Built in 1890 on the north side of Alamo Plaza
In an 1890 history of San Antonio, William Corner wrote:
"The Federal Building affording accommodation for the Federal Court and Post Office was designed by M. E. Bell, of Chicago, who was supervising architect at Washington under President Arthur's administration. The original plan was modified, in the direction of economy, by W. A. Freret, of New Orleans, during President Cleveland's term. Mr. [James Riely] Gordon of this city being appointed architect in charge [of construction], again re-arranged the building, in its present form. Under his direction, the structure grew to be the beautiful mediaeval dream that it is. Its details are worthy of careful study. The style may be called Richardsonian Romanesque with a touch reminding one of Lombardy and the South of France. Notice the tower and the bold angle turret, the arcades whose proportions are so cleverly relieved by the flight of approaching steps, the beautiful mass of the building, and the construction and outline of the tile roof."

San Antonio's Sixth Post Office (Click to enlarge)

Opened in 1937 on the north side of Alamo Plaza
The building was a product of the Federal Public Works programs enacted to relieve widespread unemployment during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Its construction accomplished several goals--generating employment, housing all federal agencies in a single building, and streamlining San Antonio's quickly expanding postal needs.

Prominent local architect Ralph Haywood Cameron designed the building in association with renowned Philadelphia architect Paul Philippe Cret under the direction of the Office of the Supervising Architect of the U.S. Treasury Department. Both Cameron and Cret studied at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. A ceremonial cornerstone was laid for the new federal building in 1935. Construction was completed in 1936, and the building officially opened in 1937. At that time, the first floor and basement were air-conditioned, a new technology that had not been installed in the any other post office in the country.

San Antonio's First Post Office (Click to enlarge)

Note slots in doors on left, said to have been used as mail drops.

San Antonio's SECOND Post Office (Click to enlarge)

PLAZA POST OFFICE - Old photograph is evidence the local Post Office once occupied a low structure, apparently of adobe, on the southwest corner of Dwyer Ave. and Main Plaza, where the Courthouse now stands. Across Dwyer is the famed French Building, completed in 1858.
The French Building, constructed of stone by contractor David Russi between 1856 and 1858, was owned by John C. French, president of the San Antonio Gas Company. It served as headquarters for the Western District of Texas during Reconstruction. When the French Building was completed in 1858 it was the most modern office building in San Antonio.

San Antonio's FOURTH Post Office (Click to enlarge)

San Antonio's Fourth Post Office was moved to the ground floor of the Gallagher Building at Alamo Plaza and Blum streets around 1877.
Click Here to see another view to give you some perspective to its location. The Gallagher Building is in the center of the photo. On the left you can see the Menger Hotel and St. Joeseph's Catholic Church nearby without it's sphere. To the right of the Gallagher is a row of stores which in just a few years would be the new home of Joske's. At the time of this photo, Joske's is directly across Alamo street.

More photos of 1890 PO (Click to enlarge)
Paving with mesquite blocks ca. 1890

Chili Stands in the shadow of the Post Office ca. 1905

View of Alamo Plaza & Post Office ca. 1920s

View threw the Palm Trees on Alamo Plaza ca. 1935

Demolition starts in 1935

More photos of Sixth Post Office
» Construction begins Dec. 10, 1935
» June 16, 1936, Cornerstone ceremony with Maury Maverick at the microphone.
» ...more to come

Read full editorial
on Postal Workers here


Back To Top

Back to SAAAL Homepage

Be informed, stay informed. In knowledge there is power, in unity there is strength.