Photo Credit and Photo Copyright

The photographs of San Antonio and Dignowity Hill used within this blog are the property of Juan A Garcia East Light Images. All rights are reserved to the owner. Copy and use of these pictures is forbidden without written permission. Contact Juan at for permission.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Built in a Day- Kaboom Playground

Over 200 community volunteers converged at the Ella Austin Community Center to build an inter-generational playground.  Primarily funded through a grant by Humana Healthcare with the support of United Way, the Dignowity Hill Neighborhood Association, Ella Austin CC,  the playground was designed by neighborhood kids and seniors from the community center. It was a great team effort as the playground emerged within 6 hours of starting construction. What a wonderful way to build and transform a community!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Eastside Cemetery Tour

 I played tour guide this morning for the city's Office of Historical Preservation cemetery tour. A large part of the historic Eastside cemeteries are located within our neighborhood. Walking around those old cemeteries is like walking among the who's who of many familiar names to San Antonio. Steves, Guenther, Groos, Wurzbach, Bullis, are some of the many historical and well known San Antonio figures buried in these cemeteries.
Steves Family Burial Plot

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Boo Bash Fun Brings Neighborhood Together

The 1st Annual Dignowity Hill Boo Bash was a great success! The Bash was a fundraising event for the neighborhood association but more importantly it brought the community together for a day of Halloween fun.  Food, great weather, music, arts and crafts vendors, fire trucks, a Halloween costume contest for kids, adults and pets made the day!  Thanks to all the volunteers and the fundraising committee for making this event a success!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hanna and Becka

A couple of years ago I posted a story about our two dogs, Hanna and Becka.  Link:  We found these two dogs in 1996. Someone had dumped them on property belonging to our church and so we christen them with biblical names. Hanna had black and white markings while Becka was all black except in her later years she got a touch of white around her face.  For over to 15 years both of these dogs were an intimate part of our family and made us laugh with their antics. At one point in their lives they were visitation dogs and they visited a local nursing home for 10 years as part of the Paws for Services program. Sadly, last September we lost Hanna to old age and last week was Becka's turn.  I don't know if there's such a thing as doggy heaven but my hope is that Becka is now with Hanna.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fire Station # 1

Fire Station #1 opened for business today! The fire station is located on Cherry and Nolan Streets in Dignowity Hill. This is the headquarters station for the San Antonio Fire Dept and a great addition to our neighborhood! We attended the "hose uncoupling" ceremony and mingled with neighbors and city officials.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Historic Home Owners Fair

What a day! Attended and participated in the Historic Homeowner's Fair at Jefferson High School. What a fun day! Lots of networking and sharing of ideas. Caught up with friends from other historic neighborhoods and made new ones! I'm always amazed how many folk know about Dignowity Hill! Met some potential new neighbors. Exciting, can't wait to see how they will do with the place they are buying!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mystery Solved

The historic street signs have been going up in the historic district for the last several weeks. But up until this weekend no one had actually seen any city crews installing the signs. The signs seemed to magically appear from one day to the next on different intersections in the neighborhood. Well, I finally spotted a crew installing some signs this weekend. I caught up with Mr Romo and Mr Gonzalez from the city's public works department working on the corner of Olive and Lamar. Looking good!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bowden School Supply Drive a Great Success!

The school supply drive for Bowden Elementary School was a great success! The neighborhood association in partnership with several businesses and other groups presented the school with backpacks and school supplies that will be used by the teachers and students through out the coming school year. Thanks to all who contributed and helped make this come together!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Alamo Brewery Proposal Gets the Nod

The neighborhood has spoken! The neighborhood association has officially taken a stance in supporting the proposed micro brewery concept next to the Hays Street Bridge. The city and our council woman have been standing on the sidelines and telling everyone that support from the neighborhood for the brewery was critical in moving forward. At this week's association meeting the members present voted to support the brewery rather than seeing another park come into the neighborhood. So the message has now been delivered!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Historic Street Signs

After over a year of raising funds and working with the city the first historic street signs have been installed in the Dignowity Hill Historic District! Check them out!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Brewery Idea is Good

This past week there's been a lot of media attention regarding the proposed brewery operations that Alamo Brewery wants to build next to the Hays Street Bridge. I have to say that the idea of a brewery so close to our historic neighborhood has the potential to literally change the landscape in regards to economic and commercial development. What I'm hearing from my neighbors is all good and the idea of a brewery has a lot of appeal for changing a neighborhood like ours.

Honestly, adding another park to the neighborhood, while a noble proposition, will not generate economic activity. We have two great parks just blocks away from the Hays Street Bridge and in the time we have lived in the neighborhood I haven't seen any commercial activity start up because of the parks.

Personally I would like to see this brewery idea come to fruition. It just makes sense.

View of the Hays St Bridge at sunset. Night view of downtown SA from bridge.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

How to Build Community

Turn off your TV- Leave your house
Know your neighbors - Look up when you are walking
Greet people -Sit on your stoop
Plant Flowers - Use your library Play together
Buy from local merchants -Share what you have
Help a lost dog -Take children to the park
Garden Together -Support Neighborhood Schools
Fix it even if you didn't break it
Have Pot Lucks- Honor Elders
Pick Up Litter - Read Stories Aloud
Dance in the Street- Talk to the Mail Carrier
Listen to the Birds -Put up a Swing
Help Carry Something Heavy -Barter For Your Goods
Start A Tradition- Ask A Question
Hire Young People for Odd Jobs- Organize a Block Party
Bake Extra and Share- Ask For Help When You Need It
Open Your Shades -Sing Together
Share Your Skills -Take Back the Night
Turn Up The Music -Turn Down The Music
Listen Before You react To Anger
Mediate A Conflict -Seek To Understand
Learn From New And Uncomfortable Angles
Know That No One is Silent Though Many Are Not Heard
Work To Change This

Source: Syracuse Cultural Workers Poster: How to Build Community

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Eastside Sprout Community Garden

Check it out.....a new community garden will soon be turning soil and getting started in the neighborhood. The garden is called the Eastside Sprout and is located on the grounds of the Ella Austin Community Center. The garden is being made possible through a grant from GreenSpaces Alliances. This will be a great opportunity to partner with not only the Ella but with Bowden Elementary School. The gardeners are getting excited and hope to have fall garden started by August. You can find a link to the Eastside Sprout Blog on this page on the Links to Explore. The garden space is a blank palette at the moment but come this fall the garden will be blooming!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Alamo Brewery Proposal

To view the summary of the Alamo Brewery proposal go to: and click on the Pages and Links tab.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Education Reform: Dignowity Style

We live across the street from Bowden Elementary School. The school used to be named Robert E Lee but somewhere along the way the name of the school changed to honor Artemisia Bowden, who was an African-American educator and long time administrator for St. Phillip's College. I find the irony of the names for the school delicious but that's another story for another time.

The real story for today is that the neighborhood association has made a commitment to partner with Bowden with the goal of developing a tutoring and mentoring program for the next school year. The neighborhood association has formed an Educational Leadership Committee made up of neighborhood residents with a passion for education and gifts to give to Bowden in way of time and skills. Bowden's principal, vice principal, and teachers are all on board in seeing this come to fruition. The parents of Bowden will also be engaged because they will be key in ensuring success in the classroom for their kids.

This effort is timely given the shortsightedness of our state legislature in cutting funding for our schools. We need to find away to get back to the notion of a community school in which a neighborhood has a vested interest in the educational success of our children. Our effort may be small but we think its a great start to making a dent in improving educational outcomes.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Brewery or Park?

This is interesting.......all of sudden the area around the Hays Street Bridge has become the focal point of two competing and very different visions. On one hand we have Eugene Simor who owns Alamo Brewery Company. He has brought forth a proposal to build a brewery on city owned land adjacent to the historic Hays Street bridge. His vision is to have a brewery that is not only brewery production operation but a tourist destination as well complete with a rooftop brew haus.

On the other hand we have a proposal from the good folks that were responsible for pushing the restoration of the Hays Street Bridge to use a city owned tract of land adjacent to the bridge for a park, a skate board park to be specific.

Where it gets really interesting is that the city owned land is coveted by both Mr. Simor and the good folks that want a park. The city owned land was donated to the city by the Dawson family when the bridge restoration was completed with an apparent understanding that the land would be used for a park. Well, after some digging around I found out that there is no stipulation written into the city ordinance that accepted the donation that the land would be reserved to used for a park.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The idea of a brewery has some appeal because it could be a catalyst or spark in further revitalizing the neighborhood and bring much needed economic development to our corner of the world but there are some concerns from neighbors regarding traffic, noise and crowds in the area. On the other hand, a park would be nice, after all you can never have enough green spaces in the city but most likely would not generate any real economic development. What's a little mystifying is that the folks that are pushing for the park have yet to reach out to the residents and the neighborhood association...not good form! So the question is: does the community support an enterprise that could possibly spark a substantial wave of revitalization or do we go for a park that is dedicated to skateboarders?......Hmmmm.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Catching Up

Just trying to catch up since the last posting! I didn't realize it's been since Feb when we had the "big snow" that I've posted anything of worth!
Lots of stuff happening lately. We had some new sidewalks put in on Hays Street. Yeah.! It may sound a little trivial but I get excited when new concrete is poured!
The city has dollars for some capital improvements in our neighborhood and we want to spend those $$$$!
The historic street sign project was a success and we should have our signs in place this summer!
City elections are next week and it looks like our council woman will be serving another term. I just can't see how her opponent has a chance!
The San Antonio Independent School District Board elections are also on for next week. This should be interesting as the mayor has endorsed some of the candidates....hmmmm.
Met the nice folks that rehab the house on Nolan Street...nice job!!
Stay tuned as there are some interesting developments brewing for the neighborhood!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Snow in Dignowity!

We got a smattering of snow in San Antonio yesterday but it was the ice that caused some problems for folks heading off to work in the morning. Still, it was fun to see the white stuff in the neighborhood!