San Antonio was a major military center during World Wars I and II, a factor that continued to dominate its economy in subsequent decades. During the 1920s, the population of San Antonio was around 161,379, and the city was growing rapidly with several development projects. Several landmarks, buildings, and public parks were built. Kiddie Park, featuring old-fashioned amusement rides for children, was established in 1925 and is the oldest children’s amusement park in the U.S.
The streets of Downtown, the old Spanish and Mexican city, were widened to accommodate streetcars and modern traffic. In the process, many historic buildings were destroyed. These included the Veramendi House, the home of the prominent family into which Jim Bowie had married when he came to the city. Standing on the southwest side of the Houston and Soledad Streets intersection, this building was a massive quadrangle built of adobe around a central courtyard in the typical Mexican style.
Below are some stunning historical photos that show what San Antonio looked like in the 1920s.
View looking southwest from edge of the river bridge. One-story building on left is San Antonio Water Department Office (106 W. Market Street). Adjoining it is Water Department Annex (200-204 W. Market) in remodeled building that had been the 19th century Casino Hall). Building with columns is Carnigie Library, at corner of N. Presa.
Photograph shows downtown buildings, including the National Bank of Commerce (far left) with additional three stories under construction on top of the building. Buildings on north side of Commerce Street (horizontally, across) at center. Burke Furniture Company and San Antonio Music Company, fronting on Market Street (lower center) and rear of Marion Hat and Dress Company (bottom, left.)
Photograph shows the northeast corner (intersection of Commerce and Flores Streets) of Military Plaza as seen from an upper floor of the City Hall. On lower left is United States Bankruptcy Court and temporary home for City Hall (during addition of fourth floor); across N. Flores Street is Schreiner Block with Marcus Clothiers. Buildings in background (l. to r.): Robert E. Lee Hotel; Majestic Theater (later the State Theater); Stowers Furniture Company Building; and the Rand Building with water tower advertising Wolff & Marx.
Photograph shows the south and east (front) elevations of the bank, designed by Atlee B. and Robert M. Ayres, architects, and located on the southwest corner of Navarro and Villita Streets. In background, barely visible is framework of the Smith-Young Tower under construction. Taken shortly after the bank was completed.