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San Felipe in Austin County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Business District

Neighborhood to the West

 
 
Business District Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, July 20, 2022
1. Business District Marker
Inscription.  
As the Number of Permanent Residents in San Felipe grew, a business district developed west of Commerce Square. Merchants, including Nathaniel Townsend and George Huff, supplied shoppers with goods from around the world. Tailors cut clothes to order and a druggist offered remedies. Establishments like Peyton's Tavern provided a place to mingle and eat a meal. Stephen F. Austin's first home and the land office, later renovated to become the Whitesides Hotel, were here on lot 14. For San Felipe, this cluster of two dozen buildings was "downtown."

"Going on down to the town proper... [was] the Peyton tavern, operated by Jonathan C. Peyton and wife; the house was the regulation double log cabin. The saloon and billiard hall of Cooper and Chieves, the only frame building in the place, was next below the Peyton's....

Whiteside Hotel, which differed from its companion buildings, only in point of elevation, it being a story and a half in height; through the center ran the regulation 'passage,' and at either end rose a huge stick and mud chimney."
San Felipe resident Noah Smithwick, recalling the village

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Local

As headquarters of the colony, San Felipe attracted a range of enterprises. An observer remarked in 1828: "[The] industry of Austin's colony, at first wholly rural, increases more and more. The colony was at first peopled with simple farmers, but... there arrived successively a large number of craftsmen useful in the region. Among the latter were carpenters, blacksmiths, printers, shoemakers, tailors, watchmakers, hatters, and finally schoolmasters and, unfortunately, a swarm of doctors of medicine and of law - particularly the latter."

Captions
Center: Noah Smithwick
Upper Right (1): Laughlin Mclaughlin's Bake Oven Lot 579
Upper Right (2): Patrick Dolan's Tailor Shop Lot 534
Upper Right (3): Thomas Gay's Billiards & Saloon Lot 12
Upper Right (4): C.B. Stewart's Drug Store Lot 13
Lower Right (1): Far Left: Cooper & Chetes, or Chieves, had a dry goods store. Noah Smithwick recalled the business also had a billiard table and offered drinks.
Lower Right (2): Middle Left: Boot Maker Thomas Johnston created a homemade engraving to advertise his shop in The Texas Gazette.
Lower Right (3): Left: Walter C. White's operated under a number of names and partnerships. It was located
Business District Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, July 20, 2022
2. Business District Marker
on premium real estate at lot 536.

Images Courtesy: Rugeley-Moore Collection; Beinecke Rare Book and Manscript Library; Yale University; University of Houston

 
Erected by San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceWar, Texas Independence. A significant historical year for this entry is 1828.
 
Location. 29° 48.396′ N, 96° 5.841′ W. Marker is in San Felipe, Texas, in Austin County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of 2nd Street and Farm to Market Road 1458. The marker is located in the northwestern section of the San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site along the pathway. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 220 2nd Street, San Felipe TX 77473, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Clopper Store (within shouting distance of this marker); Austin & Perry Stores (within shouting distance of this marker); Rio Brazos (within shouting distance of this marker); Early Roads To San Felipe (within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome to San Felipe de Austin (within shouting distance of this marker); San Felipe de Austin Colonial Well (within shouting distance of this marker);
The western view of the Business District Marker from the walkway image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, July 20, 2022
3. The western view of the Business District Marker from the walkway
San Felipe de Austin Town Site (within shouting distance of this marker); Stephen F. Austin, Father of Texas (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Felipe.
 
More about this marker. The marker is located on the grounds of the San Felipe de Austin Historic Site. There is a small fee to access the historic site and markers.
 
Also see . . .
1. San Felipe de Austin History. Texas Historical Commission website entry:
San Felipe de Austin was founded in 1824 by Stephen F. Austin as the unofficial capital of his colony. It became the first urban center in the Austin colony, which stretched northward from the Gulf of Mexico as far as the Old San Antonio Road and extended from the Lavaca River in the west to the San Jacinto River in the east. By October 1823, after briefly considering a location on the lower Colorado River, Austin decided to establish his capital on the Brazos River. The site chosen was on a high, easily defensible bluff overlooking broad, fertile bottomlands. The location offered a number of advantages, including a central location and sources of fresh water independent
Reproduction Hotel Building on the east side of historic site image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, July 20, 2022
4. Reproduction Hotel Building on the east side of historic site
of the Brazos.
(Submitted on September 17, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.) 

2. Townsend, Nathaniel (1804–1864). Texas State Historical Association website entry:
Nathaniel Townsend, merchant and Republic of Texas diplomat, son of Nathan and Dorcas (Gardner) Townsend, was born in Oneida County, New York, on June 24, 1804. Because of his ill health his parents sent him in 1828 to Natchez, Mississippi, to join his brother. There he married Maria Roach in 1829; they had four children. In 1834, on one of his trips from Mississippi to St. Louis, Townsend met Stephen F. Austin and became interested in Texas. After an exploratory trip, he moved his family to San Felipe de Austin, where he set up a general store. His business was burned when the Mexican army passed through in March 1836.
(Submitted on September 17, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 5, 2024. It was originally submitted on September 17, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 105 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 17, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.

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Jun. 13, 2024