Ole San Antonio: When San Antonio Meets Spain

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Click here to learn more about contacting Geremy Landin, published photographer and aspiring public historian.

Ole San Antonio

“Acknowledging the shared past and looking toward the future, all events will have as a common thread an intercambio (exchange) and collaboration between the cultures of Spain and San Antonio, creating experiences and memories completely unique to Olé.”

The Historic Pearl is hosting the Ole San Antonio as part of the city’s tricentennial celebrations. The goal is to enrich the community with the connections that Spain and The Alamo City have in common.

“Billed as a “monumental initiative” built around gastronomy, music and dance, and art and architecture, Pearl’s summer-long Tricentennial program Olé imports a talented array of Spanish chefs, performers and artists…” –Bryan Rindfuss

Photo by: Gateway Photography (Geremy Landin) Photos from The Historic Pearl of the Southerleigh Bar and Restaurant Signage

The events taking place at this locality are both entertaining and a great marketing tool. Offerings of free shirts and bags for the first 100 attendees in many cases as well as extended hours for many of the businesses present.

Not only is this in support of their business but The Pearl has been known for contributions to local artists and groups as well.

Joe Reyes, local guitarists and producer was one of these great performers from last night. Joined by several other artists. The group wooed the audience with some great tunes and cultural melodies.

Photo by: Gateway Photography (Geremy Landin) Photos from The Historic Pearl of Joe Reyes Guitarist and Producer playing for the public at the August 31 event.

What is forgotten is the history behind it all though. The Historic Pearl even has it in it’s name but where is the history aspect of it all. A little blurb in the beginning and some talk at the end just didn’t seem sufficient for me and assumably for several others present.

Reading further into the Pearl’s history as a brewery and small complex brought out some interesting thoughts from locals and guests of the event from last night.

Rosa Guzman, a local of the area, says, “The pearl was not something I remember much from childhood in San Antonio,” she added, ” There were many breweries around in my mom’s time but the current look and feel of the brewery is nothing like she [Guzman’s mother] could remember.

Personally though, the history of the site is not known by many of the locals attending these events. From what I can tell, I don’t seem to see any sort of ambassadors or collaborators providing this history either.

Places like The Historic Pearl are great and have a wide array of opportunity for community engagement. It would be nice to see a history timeline or a sort of historical site collaborator to really emphasize the history presented at “The Historic Pearl”. None-the-less, the events are fun and interesting for sure!

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and delve

into the history of a place like The Historic Pearl. If you are interested in more photos from the event or The Historic Pearl, please check out the portfolio linked below.

Ole San Antonio: When San Antonio Meets Spain (a photo journal)

11 Replies to “Ole San Antonio: When San Antonio Meets Spain”

  1. Very interesting. Similar to Rose, I have little to no memory of this area from my childhood. In fact to be honest, I never even found myself near broadway as a child other than to go to the zoo. As a teenager, I frequently found myself in the adult establishments on Main Street subsequently finding myself dreaming of turned the now Judson Lofts (in south town) into a night club lol!! I think it has been so interesting to witness how some of San Antonios most historical sites have been transformed into a more modern city. Undoubtedly as this continues more attention needs to be given to the history of these places. As I begin to think of this lack of attention, I immediately think of the Univision station on Chavez and S. St. Marys (now the Agave Apartments)

    1. That is interesting that you bring that up! I was just talking to my grandma the other day about that area and she reminded me that there used to be those big satellites that took up a huge space on the grounds and how people knew that Univision was such a big thing in san Antonio. It is true that people that are from around here are both nostalgic of the past but engaging in the present. My fear is that the history will be lost. Just the other day I was talking to Graciela again (Esperanza Center Director) about a shop over near that area and she referred to “Durango St.” which if you remember was located where now “Cesar Chavez” st. is. It’s amazing how things change in our own city and many fail to recognize it. I’m surely glad you do!

  2. Your post does a great job putting the celebration into a historical context. I missed out on the Pearl as a brewery, but I have seen first hand how San Antonio revived the site. It could have turned into wasted space but the city did a wonderful job of making it the social center for people. While the tourists know to go to the river walk the locals know to head to the Pearl for their fun. It is nice that the investment has paid off so well for the city and the area. There has been much revitalization in that area and it continues to spread and make San Antonio even better.

    1. Thanks for that Scott! I actually loved going to “The Historic Pearl” quite a bit but lately I’ve just felt as if it is a central site of gentrification and makes me worried about the loss of history that is fading into the restaurants and shops of the 200 year old grounds. The blog was intended to both add emphasis to the lack of history that I noticed during the events but also the engagement and activity that was occurring during these same events. It seems that people aren’t generally that interested in the “historic” part of the pearl.

  3. Places like this are really fascinating, and I think the perspective you lent to the historic part of “The Historic Pearl” was really insightful. There are so many locations like this on Broadway, where you hear faintly whispered stories from the past, yet there is no elaborate and definitively constructed history of these historic sites. In an ideal world, it’d be amazing to simply walk into these places, (if you’re in it for the history), and be greeted with a lesson in the often lively history of the locale.

    1. That is exactly the point that I am getting to here Gabriel! Thanks for the comment! I never really understood the historic part of The Pearl Brewery and if I had only researched it a bit then I would have had a better experience realizing why some things are the way they are at the site. It surely is a topic not just for San Antonio but for other great historic cities with booming gentrified spaces.

  4. Great post Geremy!
    Maybe if we focused on creating a digital history of gentrified spaces in San Antonio, we could keep that history alive through the use of a website or other public history resource. I often read Paula Allen’s articles in the San Antonio Express News (A local history column) and wonder how we can help to share all of those written stories in an online public space that we can help to shine light on.

    My concern with all of this recent focus on San Antonio history is that as soon Jan. 1, 2019 rolls around San Antonio citizens will not be inwardly focused on the historic nature of 300+ years because the celebrations will be gone. I am definitely interested in us considering on focusing “Beyond 300”.

    1. I have never seen articles by her, I need to look into that for sure! Thanks for the insight, I appreciate it. The idea of being “Beyond 300” focused is great. I think that this is an opportunity to think of how we can also assist in this type of planning with the city. Let’s connect some time and figure that piece out.

  5. I think the Pearl is an excellent case study, as it would seem that this is a location that has been preserved, and not necessarily a history. One can beautifully restore a centuries old building, but if no one knows the significance of it, all that’s left is the newfound utility of the space.

    It would be an interesting project to design a means to convey the Pearl’s history to SA’s citizens, either through a tour, landmarkers, or perhaps an app or online interface. Cool post!

    1. I think that is exactly the point I was trying to get with that Glory! There is so much to learn just off of this one site and to imagine the history lost at some of these other sites confounds me. I start to think of Blue Star, Brooks City Base, and so forth. This new need for modernized places is troublesome for the historical landscapes of San Antonio for sure.

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