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Spanish Governor's Palace

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c. 1749; 1930 restoration, Harvey P. Smith. 105 Military Plaza
  • (Photograph by Gerald Moorhead )
  • (The Lyda Hill Texas Collection of Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

Not really a palace and never occupied by the governor of the province of Texas, this building was the residence of the commander of the presidio of San Antonio de Bexar, Toribio de Urrutia. In 1928 the City of San Antonio purchased the building and hired Smith to redesign the altered and neglected structure into a tourist attraction. The one-story plastered limestone building was reconstructed so extensively by Smith that it is difficult to say where the colonial ends and the restoration work begins. Rather than a U-shaped plan, which Smith added during his restoration, the original house had a simple two-room-deep rectangular plan with a flat roof. The result of Smith's design is imaginative but is not historically accurate, with the exception of the internal room arrangement where there are no halls, typical of a Spanish colonial house of this period. The house now functions as a museum dedicated to the city's eighteenth-century history.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Spanish Governor's Palace", [San Antonio, 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, 157-157.

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