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Five (Nearly Forgotten) Buildings
of San Antonio

The Star, the Pig, the Dealership, the Icehouse
and the Chinese Grocery
Fuel, Food, Transportation, Staples and Camaraderie

Photos by Mel Brown, Sarah Reveley and Jacinto Guevara
Painting by Jacinto Guevara
Editor’s Note:
Back in 1968 I was crossing Canal Street in New Orleans with a friend. A person who would now be called “homeless” tapped my friend on the shoulder to ask for spare change. My friend, perhaps thinking it was me – turned and in a gruff tone said: “What?!” The would-be panhandler was surprised at the response and if he had intended to ask for money, it was immediately forgotten. He stammered: “I j-j-just wanted to let you k-k-k-know I was here.” These five featured buildings arrived within a few days of one another with nothing much in common other than they were all in San Antonio and three of the five share the same neighborhood. It’s safe to say they haven’t made the list of 100 must-see locations in San Antonio, but seeing them together I was reminded of that long-ago encounter on Canal Street. Collectively these buildings could be saying: “We just wanted to let you know we are here.”

Ice House and Mon Chong Grocery

Photographer’s Note:

“I was in San Antonio researching my Eastside project and found this weathered old ice house on Hackberry Street. That's Kenneth Dominique in the lower frame looking at the classic San Antonio structure. These buildings blanketed that city at one time but are now mostly gone. The cast concrete sign manages to stay put as has the terra cotta tile roof. I know where one other store is and it's a bit larger.

I must have driven past that old Ice House a million times but cannot honestly say that I recall its being there. Some blocks down from there it happened again when I saw the old Mon Chong market also on Hackberry. I simply do not remember it - and I grew up about 8 blocks from it. It's obviously been shut a long time and I'm now told there are no surviving family members among the Chinese community in SA.” - Mel Brown, March 2008
San Antonio Texas ice house
San Antonio Texas ice house
San Antonio Texas ice house cast cement signage
Cast Cement Signage
Mel Brown 2007 photo
San Antonio Texas Mon Chong grocery
Mon Chong Grocery.
Mel Brown 2008 photo

The Former Pig Stand Pig

Photographer’s Note:

“They call it "The Big Pig" but [in reality] it was the baby pig, the “Big Pig” was BIG. I remember it was a big deal when Papa would drive by it.

Baby wasn't forlorn until Mamma was torn down to make way for progress. Both pigs were piggy-cornered to the old Mission Drive-in theatre on East White and Roosevelt. Mama was a restaurant, and Baby sat happily nearby. Baby Pig is thought to have served as a carhop shelter in days gone by at the South Presa Pig Stand, but evidently escaped his pen in the 1940s. He was re-discovered in the early '90s, sitting forlornly without his mama. He had been serving as living quarters, but was returned to his original Presa Pig Stand home and spiffed up. Sadly, he sits forlornly once again since this Pig Stand went out of business a year or so ago." – Sarah Reveley, March 2008
San Antonio Texas Big Pig
Sarah Reveley, March 2008 photo
San Antonio Texas Big Pig painting

Carlos and the Pig by Jacinto Guevara
Acrylic on wood

Painting by Jacinto Guevara

The Pig as Art

Artist's Note:
"Carlos and the Pig is my painting of Carlos Cortés, grand nephew of Dionicio Rodríguez who created the faux-bois sculptures all over [San Antonio] city and other states. Carlos (standing to the right) volunteered to repair The Pig Stand pig around 1996 in time for the Contemporary Art month celebrations." - Jacinto Guevara
Former Texaco Station
This former filling station probably dates to the late 20s or early 30s. It has recently been restored as a tax filing / check cashing business. A twin (with portico) stands at the entrance of the King William District.
San Antonio Texas former Texaco Station
San Antonio Texas former Texaco station Star
Former Texaco Station on East Houston and N Olive
TE Photo March 2007
Former Car Dealership
Westside (Prospect Hill) car dealership circa 1924
San Antonio Texas former car dealership
Photos by Jacinto Guevara, March 2008
San Antonio Texas former car dealership
San Antonio Texas former car dealership interior
The budding artist/ herpetologist Joaquina Guevara paused at the store during her 2008 San Antonio tour.
Related Topics:
San Antonio
Architecture | Preservation | Texas

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