San Antonio in Bexar County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Site of De La Garza House, Gardens and Mint
Erected on this site in 1734 for prominent Bexar citizens Geronimo and Javiera Cantu de la Garza, the de la Garza family home was designed by Geronimo's brother-in-law Pedro Flores Valdez. The complex occupied an entire city block and was crafted with limestone and plaster walls three feet thick. Extensive gardens included cottonwood, pecan, fig and peach trees. The Spanish government granted the property to Javiera de la Garza in 1736 after her husband's death.
Two generations later, Jose Antonio de la Garza used the home's vault to safeguard the valuables of local merchants. In 1818 the Spanish crown granted him permission to mint coins which became known as jolas, a Spanish slang term for small currency of local issue used in the northeastern provinces of New Spain. The jolas replaced scarce Spanish silver in the value of a half real, making the de la Garza home what was probably the first mint in Texas.
During the Siege of Bexar in 1835, Ben Milam's troops engaged in a two-day battle to commandeer the fortress-like compound as their headquarters. Milam died in the struggle to take the city.
Six months of demolition were required to bring down the de la Garza home in 1912. At that time a large sum of money was found hidden in the house and a sixteen-pound cannonball was discovered embedded in the walls, inscribing another page in the de la Garza chapter of San Antonio history.
Erected 1999 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 11743.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial Era • Hispanic Americans • War, Texas Independence. A significant historical year for this entry is 1734.
Location. 29° 25.582′ N, 98° 29.595′ W. Marker is in San Antonio, Texas, in Bexar County. Marker is at the intersection of Soledad Street and East Houston Street, on the right when traveling south on Soledad Street. Marker is mounted on the northeast corner of the Rand Building. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 E Houston St, San Antonio TX 78205, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. T.C. Frost (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Site of T. C. Frost Wool Warehouse (about 300 feet away); Travis Street Crossing (about 400 feet away); Houston Street (about 400 feet away); Perote PrisonersThe Woll Invasion (about 600 feet away); General David E. Twiggs (about 600 feet away); White Elephant (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Antonio.
Also see . . .
1. De La Garza home was likely San Antonio’s first bank. The Rand Building, at what is now 100 E. Houston St., was built by developer Ed Rand on property formerly owned by the Garza family for two centuries. When completed in 1913, the eight-story building billed as a “skyscraper” was leased to the Wolff & Marx department store and was advertised as the largest building in the South “devoted exclusively to the retailing of dry goods.” (Submitted on June 9, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. José Antonio de la Garza. With permission of the Spanish governor, Garza became the first person to coin money in Texas. On one side of the coin were his initials, "JAG," and the date 1818; on the other side was a single star. One writer speculates that this may have inspired the "lone star," which later became a Texas symbol The small coins were worth the equivalent of a nickel, and Garza minted them at a building on Houston and Soledad streets for about a year and a half. (Submitted on June 9, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
3. The Siege of Bexar. The siege of Bexar (San Antonio) became the first major campaign of the Texas Revolution. From October until early December 1835 an army of Texan volunteers laid siege to a Mexican army in San Antonio de Béxar. James C. Neill distracted the Mexican forces with artillery fire on the Alamo before dawn on December 5, while Milam and Francis W. Johnson led two divisions in a surprise attack that seized the Veramendi and Garza houses north of the plaza in San Antonio. (Submitted on June 9, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 11, 2018. It was originally submitted on June 9, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 605 times since then and 246 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on June 9, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.