This neighborhood blossomed during the “Gilded Age” — the period between 1890 and 1930 when wealth first began flowing into the small city. Monte Vista was the elegant crash pad for the city’s rich cattlemen and oil barons who moved to town during this time. Stroll through this inner Northside neighborhood to gawk at ornate mansions that reflect the immense wealth that South Texas’ famed industries poured into the city.
- Gabby Mata
This neighborhood was the city’s first exclusive upper-class residential area, with homes sold only to white locals with prominent surnames (or just a lot of money). By the turn of the century, Dignowity Hill had shifted into a more middle-class industrial neighborhood, since Southern Pacific rail had laid down tracks on the north and west sides of the hill. Those working on the railroad or for railroad-related commerce and industry moved in. A relic of South Texas’ railroad industry can be found at the western end of Hays Street, where a former railroad trestle (the Hays Street Bridge) provides a pedestrian gateway into downtown San Antonio. The neighborhood restricted African-American or Hispanic residents from buying property in Dignowity Hill up until the late 1940s, but now the community overlaps with the predominantly African-American communities of the Eastside.
This neighborhood, lying directly west of downtown San Antonio, is laced with rich Chicano and Latino history — and has been the breeding ground for numerous grassroots organizing movements. In recent years, local activists have worked hard to preserve some of the historic buildings and public spaces at the heart of the inner Westside, and have used murals and photography installations to remind current residents of the neighborhood’s roots. For the last 20 years, Avenida Guadalupe has been the starting place for the city’s annual César E. Chávez March for Justice, a nod to the area’s revolutionary soul.