Archaeological Documentation of Trolley Tracks on Commerce Street Between Frio Street and the Alazan Creek, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas
From January 2021 until July of 2023, the Center for Archaeological Research at the University of Texas at San Antonio conducted archaeological documentation of trolley track remnants located along West Commerce Street between the Alazan Creek and Frio Street. This work was conducted in response to a request from the City of San Antonio (COSA). The project area is located immediately west of downtown San Antonio in Bexar County, Texas on COSA property. The work was conducted under the requirements of COSA’s Unified Development Code (UDC) (Article 6 35-630 to 35-634) and the Antiquities Code of Texas during an improvements project. CAR obtained permit Texas Antiquities Permit No. 9720 prior to the beginning of fieldwork. Dr. Raymond Mauldin served as the original Principal Investigator (PI) on the permit. Cynthia Munoz served as the final PI. Sarah Wigley served as the Project Archaeologist.
The project area extends along 931 meters (3054 ft.) of West Commerce Street, spanning roughly 2.4 ha (6 acres), and its eastern edge lies within the Cattleman Square Historic District. The focus of the project was the documentation of the trolley tracks located below the street. San Antonio’s trolley system operated from 1878-1933 (Watson 1982). During the course of this project, steel ties encased in concrete from the line that ran along West Commerce Street were documented below the street before they were removed to permit access for the installation of utilities during the course of a street improvements project. The tracks are historically relevant due to their role in the expansion and development of the city of San Antonio, although the archaeological research value of the tracks themselves is limited. CAR recommends no additional work. The sections uncovered during the course of this project were documented as part of the previously recorded site 41BX2163. No artifacts or samples were collected over the course of this project. Records generated during the course of this project are permanently curated at the CAR under accession # 2756.