Mission Trails Historic Sites

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Medical Arts Building

The former Medical Arts Building, currently known as the Emily Morgan Hotel, was constructed in 1926 and represents an intact example of the type of Neo-Gothic skyscraper popular throughout the country during the 1920s. It was designed by renowned Texas architect Ralph Cameron, who was also responsible for the neighboring Hipolito F. Garcia Post Office and Federal Building. Originally built to house doctors’ offices and a hospital, the thirteen-story, steel framed, V-plan structure includes striking architectural elements such as a Chateauesque corner tower, a steeply-pitched mansard roof, and terra cotta sculptural detailing including gargoyles representing figures with medical complaints such as toothaches. The first two floors of the building are clad in cut stone and punctuated by wide arched windows while the upper stories are faced with light-colored brick with intermittent terra cotta details.

In 1984, the building was adapted for use as a hotel. The remodeling involved the demolition and reconstruction of all internal elements of the building; however, the exterior was left intact (City of San Antonio n.d.).

The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Alamo Plaza Historic District, and it is a City of San Antonio local landmark. Its location adjacent to the Alamo ensures it is prominently visible from the Mission Trails hike-and-bike trail alignment. For more information about the building’s history, including information on making reservations at the hotel, visit the hotel’s website.The building is also featured on the San Antonio Conservation Society’s Texas Star Trail walking tour of downtown San Antonio.

Sources

  • City of San Antonio

    n.d. - Medical Arts Building/Emily Morgan Hotel City of San Antonio Local Landmark file, Copy on file at the City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation.
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