Early Statehood and the Antebellum Periods

1845-1861

Late in December of 1845, the United States Congress approved the Texas State Constitution, and Texas became as a state. Prior to statehood, San Antonio and the Texas frontier was a dangerous place full of uncertainty. As a result of the continuous warfare and exile of Mexican sympathizers, San Antonio’s population had dwindled down to about 800 citizens by 1846 (Fehrenbach 2009). Following Texas’s statehood, San Antonio began to grow quickly with many new settlers establishing homes in the vicinity of the missions near existing settlements such as La Villita (THC 1972).

By 1850, the city’s population had grown to 3,488 residents, and it was quickly becoming one of Texas’s largest cities. During this era, San Antonio became an essential part of the western movement of the United States, and by 1860 San Antonio had become the largest city in Texas (Fehrenbach 2009).

After the Civil War, San Antonio continued to prosper as a cattle, distribution, mercantile, and military center serving the southwest. After statehood and prior to the arrival of the railroad, German immigrants composed the majority of local residents. Some of these European immigrants moved into existing settlements such as La Villita, altering existing homes and building new homes in European building traditions. Additionally, new neighborhoods were platted, particularly in the vicinity of the King William, South Alamo Street‐South St. Mary’s Street, and Lavaca historic districts.

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