Heroic Rescue in San Antonio
by: Mary Carolyn Hollers George
In her 2006 book, The Architectural Legacy of Alfred Giles, Mary Carolyn Hollers George revisits several works she featured in an earlier book, Alfred Giles: An English Architect in Texas and Mexico, published in 1972. In the years between the two books, a renewed appreciation for Giles’ architecture resulted in restorations and renovations of his buildings, including many in San Antonio. Giles (1853–1920) arrived in San Antonio in his 20s and built a successful design business that took him across South Texas and into northern Mexico. This excerpt, from “Chapter One: Heroic Rescues in San Antonio, Texas,” tells of an almost desperate effort by one architect to save one building, which contrasted sharply with a much larger project – the Crockett Block – that was well-funded and rallied support from several groups. THE restoration of the Crockett Block in 1983–84 was accomplished with the ample financial backing of a group of investors as well as enthusiastic civic support. It was an anchor for the revitalization of Alamo Plaza and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing structure in the Alamo Plaza Historic District.