Archaeological Construction Monitoring of the Police and Fire Administration Building and Department of Public Safety Fueling Station and Vehicle Wash Facility, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas
Tomka, Steve A.
Tomka, Marybeth S.
Nichols, Kristi M.
Watson Pfeiffer, Maria
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The Center for Archaeological Research at The University of Texas at San Antonio (CAR-UTSA) was contracted by Ford, Powell & Carson Architects and Planners, Inc. to conduct archaeological monitoring of the construction of the new Police and Fire Administration Building and Department of Public Safety Fueling Station and Vehicle Wash Facility. The developments impacted two distinct Areas of Potential Effect separated only a few hundred yards from each other on the east and west sides of IH-35 in south-central Bexar County. The tract on the east side of IH-35 is the location of the new Police and Fire Administration Building. The tract on the west side of IH-35 is the location of the Department of Public Safety Fueling Station and Vehicle Wash Facility. Review of historic maps, deed records, previous archaeological investigations, and historic documents indicates that the tract that is to house the Administration Building has been in use and occupied throughout much of San Antonio’s history. The two blocks that make up this tract to be impacted by the proposed Police and Fire Administration Building have been occupied since at least 1873 (as seen on Koch’s Bird’s Eye View of San Antonio). The occupation of the blocks only increased as the years went by. At least two structures found on these blocks appear to have been in place since 1886, and both were illustrated on the later Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. These older structures were razed only after the property was conveyed to the City’s Urban Renewal Agency in the 1980s. In contrast, prior to the 1870s, the tract that is to house the Public Safety Fueling Station and Vehicle Wash Facility had been used primarily for agricultural production. The Alazan Acequia is the only remaining feature from this pre-1870s period. It runs south of the Areas of Potential Effect (APE) and under Frio Street, and it is not impacted by the construction project. The APE has been substantially modified following the arrival of the railroad in the 1870s. During the construction of the Administration Building, the archaeological construction monitoring has identified a privy (41BX1967) containing cultural deposits dating to the early twentieth century. Although located within the boundaries of the former red-light district, the privy appears to have been associated with a nearby general merchandise store facing S. Santa Rosa and Matamoras Streets. The store was in operation under its original owner from 1891 to 1920. The construction monitoring of the Fueling Station identify no intact architectural features or significant cultural deposits. The materials recovered during the monitoring of the construction activities in the two APEs and all project related documentation are permanently curated at the CAR facility.
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