Mission Trails Historic Sites

Friday, August 28, 2015

Yturri-Edmunds House and Mill

The National Register of Historic Places-listed Yturri-Edmunds House is believed to have been constructed in the mid-nineteenth century and is situated on lands originally owned by Mission Concepcion. The one-story adobe dwelling is the best preserved of only three total dwellings of similar construction remaining in San Antonio. It reflects the city’s early Hispanic heritage in both its form, which was driven by function rather than style, and its construction method, which was based on Spanish adobe traditions. The dwelling is characterized by its triple-pen (three-room) plan meaning there are no intervening communal spaces, such as hallways, between the rooms. A later lean-to addition was constructed on the rear of the dwelling some time before 1898, giving it six rooms total. The house has a limestone foundation and 18-inch-thick adobe walls finished with lime plaster and whitewash. The dwelling has a full-length front porch accessed by three entry doors each of which is paired with windows. While simple in form, it is an excellent representation of an architectural form popular throughout San Antonio and the southwestern United States for over 200 years and reflects the city’s connection with Hispanic settlement in Texas (Pruess and Bauml 1996).

Though the dwelling’s exact construction date is unknown, the house and associated property remained in the same family from the 1820s through 1961, and at least two generations of the owners resided there. Manuel Yturri de Castillo originally purchased the land containing the structure

from the defunct lands of Mission Concepcion in the 1820s. Castillo was reportedly born in Spain and immigrated to Mexico as a young man. Upon his arrival there, he gained employment with a renowned merchant outfit owned by the Urtiaga brothers who sent him to San Antonio as their representative. Once there, he married Maria Josefa Rodriguez, daughter of one of the original Canary Islander settlers. Their daughter Vicenta Edwards inherited the property upon the death of her parents and appears to have resided there during the late nineteenth century. Vicenta left the property to her daughter Ernestine Edmunds, a renowned local school teacher, who lived in the adobe home until her death in 1961. She left the property and house to the San Antonio Conservation Society, who owns it at present (Preuss and Bauml 1996).

In addition to the house, the property also includes a segment of a limestone-lined acequia as well as a reconstructed mill. Archeological and archival evidence suggest there was a mill on the property historically; however, its exact form and date of construction are unknown but it is believed to possibly date to the Spanish Colonial period. The Yturri-Edmunds House is owned and operated by the San Antonio Conservation Society and can be toured by appointment. For more information about the history of the dwelling and about how to schedule an appointment to tour the property, visit the associated link on the San Antonio Conservation Society website.

Sources

  • Preuss, Karl and Ron Bauml (Clio Research Associates)

    1996 - National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, “Yturri-Edmunds House,” Copy on file at the Texas Historical Commission, Austin, Texas.
Location ID47
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