The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Willy, Harley (back center), and Gretchen

Casa Navarro...A Texas State Historic Site

The Grandkids were back in town for a few days during the week rather than over a weekend which is when they usually come. Steve and I drove up to pick them up in Marble Falls on Wednesday afternoon while Helen was working. I always enjoy spending the time with Steve on a trip whether long or short. Thursday they got together with a friend and Friday we decided to check out one of the sites on the Texas Hill Country Trails Passport.

You may remember telling you about the passport in this post. It is a fun way to check out sites around the Hill Country and keep track of them just like in a regular passport. The passports are free and you can probably find them at any visitors center in the hill country.

As we headed down the highway towards downtown San Antonio, we passed this load of Texas Longhorns. They are actually large barbeque grills. The center of the back lifts up to show the grill.
I've lived in San Antonio for over 10 years and this was the first time I've heard about Casa Navarro State Historic Site. It is located at 228 S. Laredo St in downtown San Antonio not far from the Mercado.  You can see that it is a small area tucked away in a neighborhood. There is parking in front. Jose Antonio Navarro had a ranch outside of San Antonio but he purchase a 1.5 acre property on the corner of Laredo and Nueva in 1832. It already had a one room adobe cottage called a jacal that he expended in 1854. He also built the main house and a to story commercial building on the corner. He rented the first floor of that building to a local merchant and used the second story as his office.

You will see several references throughout the historic site referring to "Tejanos".  The term originally meant Spaniards who settled in the area but came to mean Mexicans who ere born in Texas.

Earlier I mentioned that Navarro built a house and a two story building. The lower floor was rented out and became an important part of San Antonio history. In addition to being used as a merchantile, it served as a café, saloon, and grocery store.

One of the things we noticed about the original buildings was the door frames. People were obviously shorter as my 6'4" son had to duck to get inside.

Laredito was one of San Antonio's earliest neighborhoods.

There was an interesting display about adobe brick which was used for many early buildings.

This cutout shows the actual adobe bricks that were used for the buildings. They are now covered over.

Water was very important to early settlers just as it is now but there were no municipal water systems until 1920. This shows how the wells were built.

And this is the actual well with a pump on top.

Before Jose Navarro became a politician, he was a merchant just as his father had been. He imported all kinds of items like books, cloth, wine, sugar, rice, and coffee.

Navarro was a prominent politician and statesman during the early years of Texas' independence and statehood. He was one of only two native-born Texans to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence and served on the committee that wrote the first Texas constitution in 1836.  He was the sole Tejano delegate to the Convention of 1845 where he supported the United States' annexation of Texas. He served two terms in the state senate.

Navarro remained an influential figure in Texas and San Antonio until his death in 1871.
We really enjoyed our visit to Casa Navarro and learned a lot about Texas history and one it's famous and influential citizens. It's always so much easier for both kids and adults to learn about history when they can see and touch it.

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