The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004 Page: 240
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
1930 by architect Harvey P. Smith. De Zavala blended myth and history
together in the service of preservation; Smith faced the task of recon-
structing a building which was partially destroyed and for which evidence
was dauntingly limited. Though Smith approached his task with great se-
riousness, he was still deeply influenced by the romantic rhetoric of De
Zavala and her followers. In spite of its several flaws, the recreation of the
Governor's Palace is of considerable significance as one of the earliest his-
toric preservation projects in Texas.
In recent years writers have acknowledged that the Spanish Governor's
Palace was actually the house of the presidio commander, and have sug-
gested that it became associated with the governor "by tradition."' Unlike
most traditions, the origins of which may be shrouded in the distant past,
the "tradition" of the Spanish Governor's Palace can be assigned a specif-
ic date of origin: 1915. On March 21 of that year, Miss Adina De Zavala
published an article in the San Antonio Express with the title, "Governor's
Palace With Imperial Coat of Arms Tells of the Spanish Rule." The publi-
cation of this article inaugurated a thirteen-year campaign that culminat-
ed with the restoration and reconstruction of one of the oldest buildings
in San Antonio.
Adina De Zavala was not a native of San Antonio, but her Texas roots
went deep. Her grandfather, Lorenzo de Zavala, was the first vice presi-
dent of the Republic of Texas. Her father, Augustine, was a child of his fa-
ther's second marriage, to Emily West of New York; her mother, Julia
Tyrell, was a native of Ireland. Both Adina and her parents used "De" as
part of their surname, and thus capitalized the D. Adina was born in 1861
just outside of Houston, near the site of the Battle of San Jacinto, where
Texas won its independence from Mexico. She grew up in Galveston, at-
tending the Ursuline Academy there. She then enrolled at the Sam Hous-
ton Normal Institute at Huntsville, graduating in 1881. She taught first in
Terrell, Texas, then in San Antonio after moving there in 1886. She
founded a patriotic group of San Antonio women that, in 1893, became
the De Zavala Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas-an-
other recently founded patriotic organization for those whose ancestors
had been in Texas in the decade between independence from Mexico
and admission to the United States. She was a charter member of the
Texas State Historical Association, an early member of the Texas Folklore
'Chris Carson and Wilham McDonald (eds.), A Guide to San Antonzo Architecture (San Antomo:
San Antonio Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, 1986), 31; Ron Tyler, et al (eds.),
The New Handbook of Texas (6 vols.; Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1996) VI, 4. The
Smithsonian Guide to Historinc America: Texas & the Arkansas River Valley (New York: Stewart, Tabor
and Chang, 1990), 44 suggests that the house began as the commandancia and became the gover-
nor's house later in the eighteenth century.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004, periodical, 2004; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/m1/284/: accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.