Archaeological survey and archival research of the Naegelin Tract (41BX1600) in San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas




Thompson, Jennifer L.
Figueroa, Antonia L.

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Center for Archaeological Research, The University of Texas at San Antonio


On December 2 and 3, 2004, the Center for Archaeological Research (CAR) conducted a Phase I survey of the 108-acre Naegelin Tract in northwest Bexar County, Texas, for Raba-Kistner Consultants, Inc. The proposed development consists of extending De Zavala Road through the southern portion of the tract and Kyle Seale Road through the eastern margin of the tract. Drainage easements are planned to cross through the center of the property and also along the northern and eastern margins of the tract. Thirty-six shovel tests were excavated along 30-meter transects and in areas considered to have high or moderate probability of buried cultural materials. No buried cultural materials were identified by any of the hand-excavated shovel tests. The survey resulted in the identification of eight isolated finds including one heavily fragmented projectile point that may represent a Bulverde dart point. This was the only artifact collected during the survey. No prehistoric sites were identified within the project area. One historic site was identified during the survey (41BX1600). The survey documented the remains of a main stone building and nine outbuildings on the property. Although an age could not be determined based on the sparse artifacts noted on surface, the site appeared to represent a historic homestead built during the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries. A 1939 aerial photograph of the area shows that many of the outbuildings and the main stone structure had been built by this date. Comprehensive deed research and oral histories conducted between February and June, 2005, helped to establish that the earliest structures on the complex were built in 1888. This research also revealed the presence of an unmarked grave on the property. Subsequent to the pedestrian survey and prior to the completion of the archival research, the main stone building was severely damaged by fire. The fire damage exposed construction and architectural details not visible during the pedestrian survey. During a subsequent site visit, a tenth wood-framed outbuilding was identified. One isolated stone building of the same construction technique and age remained in good condition following the fire until it was recently torn down during asbestos abatement activities. The principal stone-built structures on the compound were exceptional examples of Texas vernacular architecture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The interior of the main stone structure had been dilapidated through years of neglect and abandonment, nonetheless, it retained structural integrity and exemplified changes in architectural elements over a period of roughly 10 years of additions to the original core structure. Following the fire, and the razing of the only undamaged building on site, the stone buildings retain no structural integrity and the site is not recommended as eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places or for designation as a State Archeological Landmark. No additional archaeological work is recommended in association with this development. These archaeological investigations were conducted under Texas Antiquities Committee permit number 3597 with Dr. Raymond P. Mauldin, CAR Assistant Director, serving as Principal Investigator. The single prehistoric artifact collected during the survey and a small number of potentially temporally diagnostic artifacts collected from the surface of 41BX1600 following the fire, as well as all project-related documents are curated at the Center for Archaeological Research at The University of Texas at San Antonio.



archaeological investigation, archaeology, Texas archaeology, San Antonio, archaeological surveying, excavations, Bexar County, archival research, nineteenth and twentienth centuries