Mission Trails Historic Sites

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Big Tex Industrial Complex

The former Big Tex Industrial Complex operated throughout the early twentieth century and reflects the significant role San Antonio historically played as a regional agricultural processing hub. Between 1917 and 1952, the location was the site of a large industrial and shipping complex that housed grain processing companies, a meat packing plant, a lumber company, several other ventures, and distribution warehouses. At its peak, the site included three grain processing mills that purchased seed and grain from local farmers and shipped the milled products to market centers such as Dallas via the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railroad (M-K-T), which ran through the property. In 1922 alone, the Star Grain Elevator Company that operated on site processed 200,000 of the 300,000 bushels of grain processed in San Antonio that year, making it one of the nation’s most important elevator and storage facilities (McWhorter 2011; PBS&J Historic Resources Group 2009).

Though a significant portion of the facility has been torn down or removed in recent years, the most prominent building on site, the 1917 terminal grain elevator, still remains and is visible from the Mission Trails hike-and-bike trail. This structure is the oldest on the property and is unique among industrial buildings in the area for its rural and utilitarian character. The facility is also unique in that it was part of a complex owned by the San Antonio Belt and Terminal Railroad Company who leased the property, including the 1917 grain elevator building, to several different private industrial operations. The complex and the main grain elevator building were determined eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places in 2008 (McWhorter 2011; PBS&J Historic Resources Group 2009).

Sources

  • McWhorter, Amy

    2011 - Section 4(f) De Minimis Report, Eagleland Hike and Bike Trail, TxDOT, San Antonio District, Bexar County, Texas. Atkins, Austin, Texas.

  • PBS&J Historic Resources Group

    2009 - “Historical and Architectural Assessment: Big Tex (Blue Star) Grain Elevator Complex, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas,” Prepared for the City of San Antonio.
Location ID94
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