Tobin Hill, to the north of the city core, is one of San
Antonio’s oldest urban neighborhoods. The historic
district is bounded by E. Dewey Place to the north, McCullough
Avenue to the west, Evergreen to the south, and St. Mary’s
Street to the east, and includes a two block section of W. Park
Avenue between McCullough and Main Avenues.
In Spanish times this area between the San Antonio River and San
Pedro Springs provided good agricultural land. Early San
Antonio settlers dug irrigation ditches or acequias for
irrigation of crops. A major acequia, the Upper Labor, was
completed in 1777 and was located at what is now the southern
boundary of Tobin Hill. The land abutting the acequia was
distributed by lottery, with the land north of the acequia
parceled out during the latter part of 1777. Due to its
value as agricultural land, no real development occurred in the
area for another 100 years.
In the nineteenth century, the area became known as the Old Main
Association, and the land was sold to the Maverick family,
Gillum & Yongue, and other large landholders. Part of the
area now known as Tobin Hill was the result of an 1876 lawsuit
in which the City misinterpreted the amount of land in a labor
(seven acres inside city limits, but 177 acres outside city
limits) and accidentally awarded Gillum & Yongue 177 acres.
Gillum subdivided the 177 acres into lots, donated two blocks on
either side of Main Avenue to the City for what is now Crockett
Park, and sold the remaining lots. During the 1880s and
1890s, when members of the Tobin family built seven homes in the
vicinity, the area became known as Tobin Hill.
Tobin Hill reflects a wide range of architectural styles
including residences from late the Victorian era, numerous
Craftsman bungalows, later Colonial Revival and English or Tudor
style residences, and four-squares.
By the late 20th century, the campus of San Antonio College,
Metropolitan Methodist Hospital and its attendant office
buildings, and the construction of Highway 281 had done away
with many of the dwellings. The current revitalization of the
former Pearl Brewery complex, the extension of the San Antonio
River Walk, and the expansion of facilities and staff at nearby
Fort Sam Houston has again made the area desirable to potential
residents and businesses.
Tobin Hill was designated a local historic district in two
phases through City Council approval on December 9, 2007 and
March 16, 2008.
*Condensed from text written and researched by Ricki