Wednesday, August 26, 2015
The National Register of Historic Places-listed Fairmount Hotel at the corner of South Alamo and Nueva Streets was originally constructed in 1906 on Commerce Street. The Romanesque Style building represents a well-preserved example of the type of commercial development that was common throughout this area of San Antonio, particularly after the arrival of the railroad, when San Antonio’s population increased dramatically. A number of similar structures offering commercial services on the ground floor and rooms for rent in upper stories were constructed around the same time; however, many have been torn down and few retain as much of their historic character as the Fairmount Hotel. The Fairmount represents one of the last remaining examples of small hotels known as “drummer hotels” in San Antonio. This term reflects the association of such facilities with traveling salesmen who would arrive via railroad and take a short stroll down the street to find affordable lodging at the Fairmount or other similar accommodations (Unknown n.d.).
The three-story masonry, cast iron, and wood-frame building was designed by Leo M. J. Dielman, a native San Antonian of German descent who was a successful and prolific architect in the region. The building’s primary façades are constructed of “finely detailed red brick” and feature limestone trim on the upper two stories, cast iron columns, and a wood and glass storefront on the first floor (Stepan 1985). The yellow brick south section of the building is a 1980s addition. The center of the primary façade is dominated by a limestone plaque with “Fairmount” carved into it.
The building, originally located on Commerce Street, was moved to this location in 1985 to avoid demolition, earning it the tile of the “largest building ever moved on wheels” by the Guinness Book of World Records. The Fairmount is currently in operation as a hotel and is readily accessible to visitors from the Mission Trails hike-and-bike trail alignment.
n.d. - National Register of Historic Places Inventory – Nomination Form, “The Fairmount Hotel,” Copy on file at the Texas Historical Commission, Austin, Texas.
Stepan, S. (City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation)
1985 - “Fairmount Hotel: Historic Profile,” Copy on file at the City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation.