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University of the Incarnate Word Convent and Chapel

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1900, 1907, Frederick B. Gaenslen. 4301 Broadway
  • (Photograph by Jason Coleman)
  • (Photograph by Jason Coleman)
  • (Photograph by Jason Coleman)

The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word came to San Antonio in 1869 to assist with treating a cholera outbreak. In 1881 they founded a private Catholic college for women on land that was once part of banker and businessman George Washington Brackenridge's estate. The two earliest buildings are the most interesting structures on the campus, in spite of the horrific damage done to the convent building in a modern remodeling that basically left only the facade wall standing. Built of red brick rather than the prevailing limestone, the chapel is of Beaux-Arts inspiration, though on a smaller scale than anything else built by the Catholic Church in the city. Especially noteworthy are the trumpeting angels at the upper corners of the bell tower, which must have been inspired by the figures that Frederic A. Bartholdi created for H. H. Richardson's Brattle Square Church (1873) in Boston. The university became coeducational in 1971.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "University of the Incarnate Word Convent and Chapel", [Alamo Heights, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: Central, South, and Gulf Coast, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 181-182.

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