Knob Hill Historic District

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San Francisco has its Nob Hill, and San Antonio has its own little hill with a grand view known as Knob Hill Addition. The four block area of Knob Hill is located in the Southeast part of the city and a mile and a half from Alamo Plaza.  It is bordered by Iowa Street to the north, Nelson Street to the south, and South Palmetto and New Braunfels Avenues to the west and east.  The neighborhood is intersected by Virginia Boulevard. 

Knob Hill was part of the John Bowen tract purchased in 1853. The purchaser of the tract is believed to be the John Bowen, the first San Antonio postmaster and the owner of Bowen’s Island (where the Tower Life Building is located downtown).  The Victorian home located at 1003 South New Braunfels immediately south of Knob Hill Addition was owned by Elizabeth Bowen Nelson, the daughter of John Bowen.  The tract was owned by the Bowens until H.J. Goode purchased the property around 1909. 
 
Knob Hill is a residential neighborhood platted in February 1910. It was at its prime in the early 20th century, and includes numerous  Craftsman bungalows, Classical Revival style houses, and later minimal traditional homes.  According to early real estate ads published in the San Antonio Daily Express, the owners, W.T. Goode and R.H. and Harry Traylor, spared no expense to make it an ideal place for nice homes.  Knob Hill was advertised for its tremendous distant views of Mission Concepcion, San Fernando Gardens, the "Lady of the Lake Academy," Beacon Hill, Alamo Heights, and Fort Sam Houston among others.  Closer by, residents had a full vista of downtown San Antonio.

Knob Hill Addition was situated between the Southern Pacific Depot and South Heights rail car lines and within a five minute walk to two public schools on cement sidewalks and along macadamized streets.  The original Knob Hill plat consisted of 96 lots.  By early 1911, 11 homes had been completed at a cost of $3,000 to $10,000 each.  Major construction for the development occurred between 1910 and 1935.  According to the 1915 City Directory, 27 addresses were listed including those of owners W.T. Goode and R.H. and Harry Traylor. Goode lived at 1125 Virginia Avenue and R.H. Traylor at 101 Nelson Avenue, which was replaced around 1997.  Harry Traylor also resided in Knob Hill.  By 1951, only six vacant lots remained. 

Knob Hill was approved by City Council on September 2, 2010 as San Antonio’s 27th historic district.

Gloria Lamoureux
San Antonio Conservation Society Volunteer – Historic Survey Committee
February 2009

1003 S. New Braunfels - Elizabeth Bowen Nelson


Knob Hill 7


Knob Hill 3


Knob Hill 4


Knob Hill 5


District Map

Sources:
  1. HDRC 1007-220, 1224 Virginia Boulevard
  2. Knob Hill Addition and Denver Heights City Maps
  3. Bexar County Plat Volume 105, page 262
  4. San Antonio Express-News article, "Denver Heights Sees Revival in       Housing", July 2, 2003
  5. San Antonio Light article, "Churches Highlight Community", May 12, 1986
  6. San Antonio Daily Express, "A Transformation", January 8, 1911
  7. San Antonio Daily Express real estate ad, Knob Hill, January 23, 1911
  8. Newspaper real estate ad, "Knob Hill Is The Place", undated, no citation
  9. Knob Hill Addition notes, undated, no citation
  10. John Bowen, The Handbook of Texas Online, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/BB/fboxu.html
  11. San Antonio Express and News article, "‘First’ Postmaster Fourth", Sunday, January 02, 1966, Page 77
  12. Elizabeth Bowen Nelson home:  http://www.photoshow.com/members/victorian
  13. Elizabeth Bowen Nelson home: http://www.loopnet.com/property/14971649/1003-S-New-Braunfels-Av/
  14. University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA), Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, Omicron Tau Alumni Chapter (http://www.alamocitynupes.com/ch_satxalumni.htmstill)