Bexar County Texas Real Estate
Bexar County is located in the interior belt of the Coastal Plain of South Central Texas. The county is bounded on the north by Kendall and Comal counties, on the east by Guadalupe and Wilson counties, on the south by Atascosa County, and on the west by Medina and Bandera counties. The county seat and largest city is San Antonio. Other large population centers include Alamo Heights, Castle Hills, Converse, Lytle, Olmos Park, Timber wood Park, and Windcrest.
Other than being a picturesque county that holds much history, the land is also rich in mineral resources. These resources include sulfur springs, limestone, kaolin, clay, fuller's earth, greensand, lignite, petroleum, and natural gas. The climate offers mild winters and hot summers. The growing season averages 265 days a year. Crops include oats, hay, corn, wheat, and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
The first Europeans to explore the region came with an expedition in 1691 led by Domingo Terán de los Ríos and Fray Damián Massanet, who evidently reached the San Antonio River. The next group of Spanish explorers, an expedition led by two Franciscans and a military officer, did not reach the area until April 1709. Much impressed by the setting and the availability of water, they noted that the area might make a promising site for future settlement.
In 1714 Louis Juchereau de St. Denis crossed the region on his way to San Juan Bautista. In 1716 San Pedro Springs was recommended as a mission site. Near that spot, in May 1718, the San Antonio de Valero Mission and San Antonio de Béxar Presidio was founded. By the end of the winter of 1718 numerous Indians of the Jamrame, Payaya, and Pamaya groups had joined the mission.
During the 1720s the Spanish population was about 200. On March 9, 1731, fifty-five Canary Islanders arrived at Bexar, and the villa of San Fernando de Béxar became the first municipality in the Spanish province of Texas. The five missions, together with the presidio and the villa of San Fernando, constituted the most important Spanish concentration in Texas. By the mid-1730s the total population of the area was some 900, including 300 Spanish and 600 Indian converts.
The missions developed as self-supporting communities, each ringed with farmland. Crops included grain, cotton, beans, sugarcane, and vegetables. Each of the missions also maintained sizable herds of cattle, sheep, and goats on ranchlands located around Bexar.
During the late colonial period, Bexar continued to serve as the capital of the province of Texas as well as the main shipping point for supplies headed for Nacogdoches and La Bahía. Between 1811 and 1813 the city was also center of revolutionary activity against Spanish rule.
Soon after the first Anglo-American colonists came to Texas in 1821, San Antonio became the western outpost of settlement. During the late 1820s increasing numbers of American settlers began moving to San Antonio, though the city remained preponderantly Mexican at the beginning of the Texas Revolution.
The first Protestant churches were not organized until 1844. In 1847 the Presbyterians built a small adobe church, and the Methodists constructed their own building in 1852. Trinity Mission of the Episcopal Church was founded in 1850, the Evangelical Lutheran church was organized in 1857, and the Baptists organized their church in 1861.
The main source of revenue for the county was trade carried on by team trains between San Antonio and Mexico and New Orleans. A number of immigrants opened mercantile establishments in the city, but there was little in the way of industry. In 1860 the county had only twenty-eight manufacturing establishments, with 135 employees.
Except for San Antonio, which continued to be a commercial and military center, the county remained undeveloped. Most of the population continued to be concentrated in the San Antonio River valley, with only a few small settlements in other parts of the county. Economic recovery did not begin until the late 1860s with the start of the great cattle drives. Since Bexar County had a prime location it became an increasingly important center for the ranching industry.
Another important spur to the county's economy was tourism. By the turn of the century, Bexar County and San Antonio began to attract increasing numbers of tourists, drawn by the Alamo and the area's mild winter. A spa and hotel opened in the 1890s at Hot Sulphur Wells and drew guests from as far away as the Midwest. And for a short time just after 1900 San Antonio vied with Hollywood as a center for the infant movie industry.
Between 1910 and 1930 cotton became one of the county's most important cash crops. The same period also saw a steady rise in the number of tenant farmers in the county. The majority of the leaseholders were Anglos, but much of the labor was performed by persons of Mexican descent, who were poorly paid and frequently lived in poverty.
During the twentieth century Bexar County developed into a major educational center. The earliest mention of a school in the county occurred in 1789. There were several private or free schools in the late Spanish and Mexican period, usually meeting in private homes. By 1828 there was also a school for Anglo-American children in San Antonio called McClure's School. During the revolution most of these schools closed, but by the early 1850s two private schools were in operation, one for boys and one for girls, run by the Brothers of Mary and the Ursuline Sisters respectively.
Today over 66 percent of the land in the county goes for farms and ranches. Principal crops included oats, hay, corn, wheat, pecans, and vegetables; primary livestock products included cattle, milk, sheep, wool, and hogs.
Tourism, now the number one provider of jobs in Bexar County, has played an increasingly important role in the county's economy. The construction of two large theme parks, Sea World of Antonio and Fiesta Texas, combined with the areas other attractions, including the annual Fiesta San Antonio, the Texas Folk life Festival, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, the zoo, and the many museums, have made San Antonio and the surrounding area a prime tourist destination.
Cities and Towns in Bexar County