Michael T. Berger, MBA
History Engaged: Knob Hill
We just love UrbanLiving Inside410 and as you know, we periodically take a look at Historic Districts inside loop 410. This week we are taking a look at a fantastic historic area Inside410 of the San Antonio Office Of Historic Preservation we know and love called Knob Hill.
The San Antonio Office Of Historic Preservation describes the district as follows:
San Francisco has its Nob Hill, and San Antonio has its own little hill with a grand view known as Knob Hill Addition. The four-block area of Knob Hill is located in the Southeast part of the city and a mile and a half from Alamo Plaza. It is bordered by Iowa Street to the north, Nelson Street to the south, and South Palmetto and New Braunfels Avenues to the west and east. The neighborhood is intersected by Virginia Boulevard.
Knob Hill was part of the John Bowen tract purchased in 1853. The purchaser of the tract is believed to be the John Bowen, the first San Antonio postmaster and the owner of Bowen’s Island (where the Tower Life Building is located downtown). The Victorian home located at 1003 South New Braunfels immediately south of Knob Hill Addition was owned by Elizabeth Bowen Nelson, the daughter of John Bowen. The tract was owned by the Bowens until H.J. Goode purchased the property around 1909.
Knob Hill is a residential neighborhood platted in February 1910. It was at its prime in the early 20th century, and includes numerous Craftsman bungalows, Classical Revival style houses, and later minimal traditional homes. According to early real estate ads published in the San Antonio Daily Express, the owners, W.T. Goode and R.H. and Harry Traylor, spared no expense to make it an ideal place for nice homes. Knob Hill was advertised for its tremendous distant views of Mission Concepcion, San Fernando Gardens, the "Lady of the Lake Academy," Beacon Hill, Alamo Heights, and Fort Sam Houston among others. Closer by, residents had a full vista of downtown San Antonio.
Knob Hill Addition was situated between the Southern Pacific Depot and South Heights rail car lines and within a five minute walk to two public schools on cement sidewalks and along macadamized streets. The original Knob Hill plat consisted of 96 lots. By early 1911, 11 homes had been completed at a cost of $3,000 to $10,000 each. Major construction for the development occurred between 1910 and 1935. According to the 1915 City Directory, 27 addresses were listed including those of owners W.T. Goode and R.H. and Harry Traylor. Goode lived at 1125 Virginia Avenue and R.H. Traylor at 101 Nelson Avenue, which was replaced around 1997. Harry Traylor also resided in Knob Hill. By 1951, only six vacant lots remained.
Knob Hill was approved by City Council on September 2, 2010 as San Antonio’s 27th historic district.
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