Historic Resource Survey

In 2002, the City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation, in conjunction with the San Antonio Conservation Society, initiated a survey to comprehensively identify the city’s historic resources.  The survey area covers the original city limits as defined in 1856 and encompasses a land area of 36 square miles with an estimated 62,000 resources.   The boundaries of the 36 square miles are roughly Hildebrand Avenue to the north, Rio Grande to the east, Division and Morrill Avenues to the south, and 24th and 19th Streets to the west (see map link below).  The boundaries contain residences, commercial and industrial structures, and more than 20 major commercial corridors. 

Southern Music    River North House


Survey Map - click to view the 36-Square Mile Survey Map and the efforts of the Historic Resource Survey.



Purpose of Survey

The purpose of the survey is to proactively identify historically significant properties and areas to preserve the architectural and cultural heritage of San Antonio and assist in preventing the demolition of previously non-inventoried historic resources. Identification and documentation of the city’s historic resources assists in maintaining the cultural and historical character that makes San Antonio unique.  It provides for economic development potential, serves as an education tool for residents of the community, and provides a comprehensive "snapshot" of the city’s historic resources.

Scope of Work

Through the participation of over 120 volunteers, all buildings, structures, and objects currently inventoried have been photo-documented and recorded on survey inventory forms.  Information about architectural style, year constructed, exterior materials, and alterations has been documented.  Each resource has then been reviewed for its architectural integrity and has been assigned an integrity value of High, Medium, or Low: 

  • High – Retains all or most of the original features of its design and is a high style, outstanding, unique, or good representative  example of architecture, engineering, or craftsmanship.  Contributes significantly to local history or broader historical pattern.                      
  • Medium – The resource is a good representative example of a local building form or architectural style and retains a significant portion of its original materials and design elements.  Contributes to the local history or broader historical pattern of the area or neighborhood. 
  • Low - The resource has had many alterations or additions thereby removing historic material or design elements.  The building detracts from the overall historic and scenic quality of the streetscape. 

Results of Survey

The survey identifies buildings and districts that are eligible for historic designation.  A goal for the Office of Historic Preservation is to complete a database of all inventoried properties and to make this information available to the public.  To date, approximately 50% of the survey area, or over 30,000 properties, have been inventoried.  The survey is an ongoing project.


Mid-Century Modern (MCM) Survey

Mid-century modern commercial building on San PedroIn partnership with the San Antonio Conservation Society, the OHP has undertaken a Mid-Century Modern (MCM) survey of properties built between 1945 and 1975.  These mid-20th century resources are nearing or have exceeded 50 years of age and are becoming "historic"  in their own right. Mid-century modern architecture reflects the changing trends in building technology, materials, and aesthetics that developed in the post WWII decades.  Clean lines and surfaces, minimal ornamentation, flat and irregular rooflines, plate glass windows, curtain wall construction, and decorative screens and accent walls are all elements commonly found in MCM architecture.

Mid-Century Modern Survey Training Presentation


Survey Summaries of Historic Neighborhoods

Keystone_Street Commerce Street


Historic Farm and Ranch Surveys

Historic Farm House in Medina CountyBetween 2003 and 2010, the Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) and the San Antonio Conservation Society (SACS) surveyed and researched 19th century vernacular properties that qualify as Historic Texas Farm and Ranch Complexes.  Over 100 properties have been identified within the city limits and the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ).  These extremely rare resources represent the last remaining visual vestiges of the earliest settlement of the city, county and ETJ.  Each year more and more of these precious resources are lost to development, vandalism, and deterioration. 

An historic context for these farm and ranch complexes (used to evaluate individual properties) was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in May 2011. A number of individual farm and ranch properties have been nominated and listed on the National Register.  Ten of the seventeen properties located within the city limits were designated as City of San Antonio local landmarks in 2008. These farm and ranch complexes are significant due to their age, their association with the founding families of the city, and their early construction techniques and use of indigenous materials.  Learn more about these historic complexes at the links below.

Historic Farm and Ranch Complexes

Historic Farms and Ranches of Bexar County - National Register Nomination

Blas Herrera Ranch - National Register Nomination

Ruiz-Herrera Ranch - National Register Nomination

Presnall-Watson Homestead - National Register Nomination