The Southern Pacific Depot Historic District is an architecturally
cohesive group of buildings located on the east side of San Antonio.
The buildings are linked not only by design, but also by their connection
to the theme of transportation. The district is located on lands once
farmed by the Mission San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo) in the
18th century, and later significant as the location of a Spanish road
laid out in 1805 (now East Commerce Street). After the railroad arrived
in 1877, the "East Side" began to develop into an urban middle class
neighborhood. East Commerce Street was lined with wagon yards and other
enterprises related to transportation and shipping. Although the neighborhood
was predominantly Anglo, people of many ethnic backgrounds began to
settle the area including African, Mexican and German Americans. In
1902, the Southern Pacific Depot was constructed on East Commerce and
Walnut streets. The opening of the depot was a catalyst for commercial
development in the area, and its Mission Revival style architecture
influenced the design of buildings in the district. This influence can
be seen in the stucco surface and prominent curvilinear parapets of
many of the buildings. Despite the proliferation of commercial activities,
the area retained its neighborhood character and continued to thrive
through the 1950s. The African American community attracted prominent
black entertainers such as Count Basie, Louis Armstrong and "Pigmeat"
Markham. The depot building, located at 1174 East Commerce, is highlighted
by a curvilinear parapet, tile roof and arched arcade.
| Interior of the depot building
Courtesy of San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau
The Southern Pacific Depot Historic District is roughly bounded
by I-37, S. Cherry, Mackenson and Montana sts. The depot building has been renovated into a performance arena, with restaurants and shops. For further information,
visit their website or call 210-222-9481.