Dignowity Hill was San Antonio’s first exclusive residential
suburb. The area was settled by Dr. Anthony Michael
Dignowity, a physician and Czech immigrant, who built his family
home on a hill to the east of town and called it Harmony House.
During the latter part of the nineteenth century, Dignowity
Hill, as it became known, was home to prominent San Antonio
merchants and business owners who constructed large estates.
Dignowity Hill was an exclusive and affluent residential area in
San Antonio due to its high elevation, proximity to downtown,
the size of the lots, and lack of city water, which required
residents to construct expensive water collecting systems.
The arrival of the railroad in 1877
significantly changed the neighborhood’s built environment and
demographic diversity. Industrial development greatly
increased with the construction of an iron works factory, the
development of a streetcar trolley line along Burnet Street
(1891), and the extension of sewer and water lines to the area
around the turn-of-the-century. By 1914, the
neighborhood was surrounded by industry on the north and west,
commerce on the south, and modest homes on the east. Dr. Dignowity died in 1875, and hisHarmony House was later
demolished. The property became Dignowity Park in 1926.
The neighborhood consisted primarily of small Folk Victorian
style houses and Craftsman Bungalows by the 1930s. Today, the
neighborhood is a local historic district bounded by Sherman
Street on the north, Commerce Street and Paso Hondo on the
south, Palmetto Street on the east, and Cherry Street on the
Source: A Forgotten Past/A Nebulous Future, John E.
Castaneda, 1979. COSA-OHP archives.