Texas Historical Commission
Raba Kistner Environmental, Inc. (RKEI), was contracted by CPS Energy (CLIENT) to conduct cultural resources monitoring investigations for the CPS Energy (CPSE) 401 Dwyer Avenue Overhead to Underground Service Conversion Project (401 Dwyer Avenue Project) in downtown San Antonio, Texas. The project consisted of 2,585 feet (788 meters [m]) of overhead to underground electrical service conversions within the Old Guilbeau Street, South Main Street, Stumberg Street, Woodward Street, and Dwyer Avenue right-of-ways (ROWs). Given that the project took place within a publicly owned ROW and because CPSE is a political subdivision of the State of Texas, the project was subject to review under the jurisdiction of Chapter 35 of the Unified Development Code (UDC) of the City of San Antonio (COSA) (Article VI, Historic Preservation and Urban Design, COSA UDC), as well as the Antiquities Code of Texas (ACT) (Texas Natural Resources Code, Title 9, Chapter 191).
An archaeological desktop review conducted in October 2018 determined that the San Pedro Acequia, also known as the Acequia Principal, intersected a portion of the project alignment along the Old Guilbeau Street ROW. As such, cultural resources monitoring was required by the COSA Office of Historic Preservation for a 360-foot (104 m) section of the Project Area within the Old Guilbeau Street ROW, west of its intersection with South Main Street. No monitoring was required for the remaining 2,225 feet (678 m) of remaining conduit installations associated with the project. For the purpose of archaeological investigations, the Area of Potential Effects (APE) encompassed 443 cubic yards, or 0.03 acre of soil disturbance.
RKEI conducted monitoring investigations for the APE on November 29, December 3, and December 6, 2018. Rhiana Ward served as Project Manager and Principal Investigator, and all field work was conducted by Kirsten Atwood. Investigations resulted in the identification and documentation of the San Pedro Acequia, previously recorded archaeological site 41BX337. The San Pedro Acequia was identified approximately 170 feet (52 m) southeast of the South Flores Street–Old Guilbeau Street intersection, within the northeastern trench profile wall. The ditch measured 73 inch (185 cm) wide with evidence of stone-lining. Although none of the cultural materials observed in association with the acequia displayed individual diagnostic markers, the collection appeared to be consistent with the late-1800s to early 1900s time period, which is contemporaneous with the closure of the San Pedro Acequia in this area. A review of the historic San Antonio Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps determined that the documented profile closely matches the projected alignment of the acequia as illustrated on the 1892 and 1904 Sanborn Maps.
In addition to the acequia, an additional basin-shaped feature was documented. The feature was located approximately 70 inches (180 centimeters) northwest of the acequia profile, and measured 47 inches (120 cm) wide, from 31 to 40 inches (80 to 100 cm) below surface. No evidence of the feature was visible within the northern trench profile wall. It is possible that the basin-shaped feature may represent an earlier channel of the acequia, such as that illustrated on the 1889 City Engineering Map; however, a lack of cultural materials and the absence of the feature in the northern trench profile wall prevented a positive identification of the feature.
RKEI made a reasonable and good faith effort to identify cultural resources within the given APE. As a result, a portion of the San Pedro Acequia was identified and documented. Confirmation of the ditch and its location contributes important information to the history of the region and is a contributing element to the eligibility of archaeological site 41BX337 as a National Register Property and State Antiquities Landmark. RKEI recommends no further archaeological investigations for the current APE. However, should additions be made to the Project Area, additional cultural resources investigations may be required.
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