The Cattleman Square Historic District is a small collection of streets on the west side of IH-35 immediately west of downtown. The buildings within the district include a variety of late 19th and early 20th century commercial and industrial structures. The Cattleman Square Historic District is roughly bounded by Travis and Martin Streets to the north, Buena Vista and Commerce Streets to the south, Pecos La Trinidad (IH-35) to the east, and the railroad tracks to the west. Cattleman Square was designated a local historic district in 1985.
In 1881, four years after the first rail line was extended to San Antonio, the International and Great Northern Railroad (I&GN) opened its line from St. Louis to San Antonio. The first I&GN depot was constructed shortly thereafter at West Houston Street in what is today within the historic district boundary. The expansion of the railroad to this community led to a flurry of real estate activity in the area, including a mix of new residential, industrial, and commercial buildings.
One of the most significant buildings within the district is the former I&GN Railroad Passenger Station at 123 N. Medina. The I&GN Railroad Passenger Station, later known as the Missouri Pacific Station, was designed in 1907 by architect Harvey L. Page. The majestic building is of steel frame construction in the plan of a Greek cross, with tan brick cladding, a central dome, bell towers, mission-style parapets, stained glass windows, and barrel vaults on the interior. The lantern over the dome features a bronze Indian figure. It is one of two remaining railroad stations in San Antonio, along with the Southern Pacific Depot or Sunset Station on the city’s east side. The station was built to replace the earlier wood-frame I&GN depot constructed in the late nineteenth century on W. Houston Street. The railroad eventually linked Austin to Laredo, providing a route into Mexico. The depot closed in 1979 but has since been restored and is utilized as a banking facility by Generations Federal Credit Union.
Another building of note within Cattleman Square is the former I&GN Hotel (Heimann Building) at 118 N. Medina. The three-story brick building was constructed in 1909 by noted San Antonio architect Atlee B. Ayres. Located across the street from the railroad station, the building was owned by businessman Silva Heimann and housed the International and Great Northern Hotel on the second and third floors. The intersection of Medina and Houston Streets was one of the busiest in the city with commercial and transportation activity. The area deteriorated after World War II, with many buildings demolished for construction of the interstate. In the 1970s, the Heimann Building reportedly had a cameo role in the movie "The Getaway" with Steve McQueen. The building remained mostly vacant until 2000 when it was rehabilitated for the national headquarters of Avance, a non-profit organization. Cattleman Square continues to boast a variety of late 19th and early 20th century commercial and industrial structures today.
Historic Preservation Certification Application-Part 1-Evaluation of Significance, Heimann Building/I&GN Hotel, National Park Service, Office of Historic Preservation archives.
National Register Nomination: International & Great Northern Railroad Passenger Station, 1975. Available at: http://atlas.thc.state.tx.us/.