Texas Historical Commission
Between July 11, 2018, and February 28, 2020, The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Center for Archaeological Research (CAR), in response to a request from the City of San Antonio (COSA), intermittently conducted archaeological monitoring for the Buena Vista (BV) Corridor project in San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas. The project goal was to foster pedestrian traffic by sidewalk, lighting, and aesthetic improvements on Buena Vista Street between S. Leona and S. Santa Rosa streets. The COSA department of Transportation and Capital Improvements (TCI; now Public Works Department) administered the BV Corridor project with the COSA Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) having regulatory control of the archaeological component. The project required review by the Texas Historical Commission (THC) under the Antiquities Code of Texas (Texas Natural Resource Code, Title 9, Chapter 191, Sections 191.003(4) and 191.052(5) as amended) because COSA is a political subdivision of Texas and the work was conducted on publicly owned lands. The THC granted Texas Antiquities Permit No. 8950 to Dr. Paul Shawn Marceaux, former CAR Director. Dr. Marceaux departed CAR late in 2019. José Zapata assumed the permit and served as the Principal Investigator. Leonard Kemp served as the Project Archaeologist.
The project area is located on Buena Vista Street just west of S. Leona Street, crosses through S. Pecos Street (where Buena Vista Street turns into Dolorosa Street), and extends along Dolorosa Street to east of S. Pecos Street. The length of the project area is approximately 0.48 km (.29 mile) long and between 14 to 29 m (45.9 to 95.1 feet) wide, and it covers an area of 1.02 hectares (2.49 acres). This location is adjacent to one of the older areas in San Antonio with settlement dating to the 1760s. The area was also a thriving economic district in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century containing the city market house and the International and Great Northern rail depot and hotel. Archaeological monitoring focused on excavations for street and utilities improvements to identify and document archaeological properties that may be present within the BV Corridor. Over the course of the project, CAR monitored the excavation of four trenches, 14 auger holes, and 13 planter box pits.
CAR archaeologists identified two new archaeological sites within the BV Corridor project area. The first site, 41BX2345, is a possible water channel or ditch cut into caliche. No artifacts were associated with the channel. Archival research failed to find any documentation of the ditch, and the time frame of the ditch is unknown. CAR recommends there is insufficient data to make a determination regarding 41BX2345 concerning its eligibility for nomination as a State Antiquities Landmark (SAL) or eligibility to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The profile of the water channel was covered in permeable fabric and backfilled with gravels. CAR suggests that any future ground-disturbing activities near the site take into account its presence, and at a minimum, the activity be monitored.
The second site, 41BX2346, is the remnant of a brick and concrete foundation associated with a building constructed in the early 1900s. The early 1900s foundation that comprised site 41BX2346 lacked significant data or unique associations and lacked site integrity. CAR therefore recommends that 41BX2346 does not warrant nomination as a SAL nor is the site eligible to the NRHP. In consultation with the THC and COSA-OHP, a portion of the site was removed to allow construction to proceed. CAR recommends that if ground-disturbing activities occur to the south of the 41BX2346 on what is now a parking lot, the excavation should be monitored to determine if features of the mid to late nineteenth-century occupation still exist.
No diagnostic artifacts were identified, and no artifacts were collected during the project. All other project-related materials, including the final report, are curated at the CAR curation facility, a state certified repository, under accession # 2278.
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