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Purpose, History, Process

Purpose

The purpose of this website is to showcase late 18th century through early 20th century historic farm and ranch complexes located in Bexar and adjacent counties in Texas. The goal is to celebrate and to promote conservation and preservation of historic properties and to provide inspiration and examples for others looking to do the same with their properties. The viewer will find many different architectural styles used in construction of these historic farm and ranch complexes. Common in many of the older buildings is the vernacular style architecture which is based on local needs, customs and traditions and utilizing indigenous construction materials found in this region such as limestone blocks, occasionally brick, and/or logs cut from trees felled in the vicinity. These complexes are rarely designed or built by formally trained architects and builders but rather by methods and materials in a similar style handed down over generations. The Jacal and Dogtrot come to mind. There are of course also considerable formal architectural and building styles stemming directly from German, Spanish, USA and other influences. All will be identified. Individual properties will feature historical summaries, stories told by family members, research studies, photographs and other related documents as well as links to associated websites. If available, before and after photographs will be shown for the properties that have been stabilized or restored. This website is a work in progress. Results of ongoing research will be posted as it becomes available.

Our History

In 2006, the Historic Farm and Ranch Complexes Committee was established by the San Antonio Conservation Society as it was identified that many of the vernacular and non-vernacular historic farm and ranch complexes were highly endangered by encroaching development and lack of preservation. The Committee began working with Kay Hindes, City Archaeologist in the Office of Historic Preservation, City of San Antonio to begin surveying the rural areas. Of the 56 historic properties originally identified in the 1973 survey done by the Alamo Area Council of Governments, 41 properties were located. Fifteen of the original properties had been lost and 44 additional historic farm complexes were identified. Over the next ten years, survey work continued. Additional complexes are being identified as development continues and outlying properties are being cleared for housing and businesses. Currently over 100 historic farm and ranch complexes have been identified. Research and documentation is continuing.

Our Process

Members of the Historic Farm and Ranch Complexes Committee work with the City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation and City Archaeologist, Kay Hindes, to locate, identify, photograph, research, and document mid-19th century and early 20th century historic farm and ranch complexes. This work has expanded into the City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) and nearby counties. Property owners as well as individuals who may have relevant information are contacted and interviewed. Properties are photographed and archival records are searched. If the property owner is interested in a historical designation, committee members will assist in the preparation of nomination applications.