Ignacio Perez Ranch- Overview
The Ignacio Perez Rancho Jacal is located in the Medina River Natural Area and Greenway in southern Bexar County. (15890 Highway 16, San Antonio, TX). The Medina River Natural Area and Greenway is operated by the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department. The jacal is near the El Chaparral Trail and is visible from a distance as it is protected by a security fence. The Perez Rancho was located on the Spanish Land Grant awarded to Lt. Colonel Ignacio Perez in 1808. However, it is likely that Perez was occupying the lands prior to this time in the 1700s.
The Perez Jacal, also referred to as the “Goat-Herder’s Shack,” is only one of 7 jacals remaining in Bexar County. It was part of the Ignacio Perez Rancho that originally covered more than 20,000 acres. The Perez Rancho is reported to have had at least 4 or 5 jacals in addition to a stone house (erected between 1813-1820), a cultivated field enclosed with a wooden fence and corrals for the livestock. Some of the jacals were erected in1808. The rancho served as a base of operations for the extensive livestock operations of Ignacio Perez which included cattle, horses and sheep.
The existing jacal is currently in a precarious position and is leaning badly. In 2007, a workman in the area accidentally backed a tractor into one side of the jacal damaging it to the point where it was on the verge of collapsing. The San Antonio Conservation Society subsequently funded the shoring up of the jacal, as seen in an accompanying photo.
In 2008, the City of San Antonio designated the jacal as a City Landmark. In addition, the jacal was documented in 2009-2010 for the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS). That report is on file with the Library of Congress. A brief HABS report is on this website.
The Perez Rancho Jacal has also been included in the National Register nomination and designation for the El Camino Real de la Tejas which will make it eligible for potential funding for more intensive stabilization.
The Perez Rancho has been extensively researched and documented by Kay Hindes in “The Perez Farm and Rancho: Late Spanish Colonial Mexican, and Republic Period Farming and Ranching Activities Along the Lower Medina River, Bexar County, Texas.“ The study was published in Chipped Stone and Adobe: A Cultural Resources Assessment of the Proposed Applewhite Reservoir, Bexar County, Texas,” A. Joachim McGraw and Kay Hindes, Archaeological Survey Report, No. 163, 1987, Center for Archaeological Research, The University of Texas at San Antonio, pgs. 110-113, and pgs. 202-206. (This publication is available on this website under Supplemental Resources.)
Please access the accompanying photos and documents for more extensive information.
Many thanks to the researchers, archaeologists and contributors of the documents related to the Ignacio Perez family. In addition, a special thanks to Kay Hindes, Archaeologist for the City of San Antonio, Office of Historic Preservation. She has been a valuable consultant to the Historic Farm and Ranch Complexes Committee of the San Antonio Conservation Society. She has freely shared her research, expertise and encouragement during the many endeavors of the committee.
Thanks also go to Charlotte “Betsy” Kiker, a researcher and a descendant of Ignacio Perez, for the sharing of the Perez Rancho jacal photo prior to its damage, and to Ron Bauml, Properties Restoration Manager of the San Antonio Conservation Society for providing the photos of the leaning jacal and the photo of the jacal after it was shored up with funds provided by the San Antonio Conservation Society. Thanks to Patsy Castanon, an avid researcher and reviewer of documents, and to Ernest Gerlach, also a member of the Historic Farm and Ranch Complexes Committee and a reviewer of documents for this writer.
Pat Ezell, Vice-Chair
Historic Farms and Ranches Committee
San Antonio Conservation Society