Tucked away behind San Antonio City Hall is the Spanish Governor’s Palace. While this single-storey white adobe building hardly invokes the idea of a palace, it may have felt that way when Texas was still part of the Spanish Empire.
Finding it, for me at least, was a little confusing as I thought the location was named the Presidio San Antonio de Bexar (the “palace” was part of the presidio, which was a much larger fort). After wandering around the San Fernando Cathedral, we were able to get directions to the actual site. Later on, I discovered that the Spanish Governor’s Palace is listed on the directional signs throughout the downtown.
The name Spanish Governor’s Palace is a misnomer as no-one who held the title of governor ever resided in the structure; instead housing the captains of the presidio. Famed Texan historian and preservationist Adina De Zavala came up with the name during her quest to save the house.
Built in early 1700s, the Spanish Governor’s Palace is all that remains of the fort. Constructed of adobe bricks and timber, the building has expanded to ten rooms over the centuries as it changed ownership. Each room is furnished with replica and antique fixtures to emulate what life was like back in the 18th century. Behind the house is a massive enclosed courtyard filled with lush plants and trees to offer relief from the intense Texas heat. Over the course of time, the house has served as a residence, pawn shop, grocery store, school, saloon, tire store and clothing store before being purchased by the city for transformation into a museum.
When we visited, the palace was relatively quite and we took our time admiring the history, architecture and courtyard garden. It was neat going back in time and learning a bit about San Antonio’s Spanish colonial history. Photos of the Spanish Governor’s Palace from my tour can be viewed on Gallery.
The Spanish Governor’s Palace is located at 105 Plaza De Armas, San Antonio, Texas, west of City Hall on West Commerce Street. Admission to the museum is $5.00 USD.