The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002

Book Reviews

that, on a current map of San Antonio, would be at the intersection of Loop 410
and I-io West.
The city has a fascinating history. When it was first incorporated some fifty
years ago, Balcones Heights enjoyed its independence from the City of San An-
tonio. There was a time, not long after Balcones Heights was incorporated, when
residents considered the question of annexation. Residents voted against it, how-
ever, and endured some hard times in what was a tax-free city. Basic services
such as repairing city streets couldn't be paid for, so the city passed an ordi-
nance whereby all male residents between ages 21 and 45 would have to spend
some time working on public streets and alleys. (Clergy "actually engaged in the
discharge of their duties" were exempt [p. 12].)
By 1955, however, the growth of San Antonio had reached outward to the Bal-
cones Heights city limits, and development of Fredericksburg Road through the
heart of the city would begin to provide the revenues needed to provide basic
city services. Fisher also describes how the creation of Loop 410o, and its intersec-
tion with I-1o, played a critical role in the city's development.
Fisher writes that an average of 1oo,ooo vehicles travel on nearby Loop 410
daily (p. 45). Small town or not, the high volume of traffic and the resulting
high revenues from the sales taxes bring about a larger demand for services. Yet,
according to Fisher, the city's government leadership has enjoyed a certain sta-
bility for all the changes.
The history of a Balcones Heights may well mirror the history of any suburban
city. These bedroom communities begin as cities outside the jurisdiction of the
larger, growing city, and ultimately they are surrounded by the city, their city
limits fitting within the larger jurisdiction like a jigsaw puzzle piece.
Fisher's work is well illustrated. The photographs richly add to the book. Any-
one familiar with today's San Antonio will be fascinated with how things were
when the photographs were taken during the past few decades. Unfortunately,
Fisher fails to include a bibliography in his work; the reader is left to deal with
what appears to be a conscientious, thoughtful collection of endnotes.
The City of Balcones Heights commissioned Fisher to write the book in com-
memoration of the city's fiftieth anniversary. Fisher has created a relevant, inter-
esting work that serves as an interesting local history and a model for those who
wish to write similar books about their own bedroom communities.
Houston George Slaughter
Where the Creosote Blooms. By Mary King Rodge. (Fort Worth: TCU Press, 1999.
Pp. 235. Acknowledgments, prologue. ISBN 0-87565-193-3. $14.95, paper.)
Where the Creosote Blooms opens a window onto the world of El Paso, Texas, dur-
ing the hopeful days of the late 192os and the despairing days during the Great
Depression in the early 1930s. This memoir opens a window as well onto Mary
King Rodge's private world inhabited by the all-too-human people around her.
She reports inspiring desert scenes of vivid color and textural detail, and hears
"the silence, the enormous silence, ringing in my ears" (p. 17). Universal
themes, old truths, and personal wisdom tumble out of every paragraph and nes-
tle into the reader's consciousness. References to classic literature, described as

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2001

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101222/. Accessed July 11, 2014.