The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968 Page: 565
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Notes and Documents 565
insecure. Throughout the period there was constant warfare. Santa
Anna destroyed the defenders at the Alamo in 1836. Invasion struck
twice in 1842, with General Antonio Vasquez invading and plunder-
ing in March, and General Adrian Woll's capturing the town in Sep-
tember. Between 1842 and 1844 San Antonio barely managed to
survive. But it did, and visitors found it the most charming and ro-
mantic of all Texas towns.'
The buildings were neither beautiful nor comfortable. The streets
were narrow and unpaved-dusty in dry weather and morassic in wet.
A regular grid pattern prevailed, especially toward the center of town.
In spite of dust or mud, romance clung to the street names. Camar6n
Street, along San Pedro Creek, was named for the crawfish so plentiful
in the stream; and Carretas Street, for the lumbering oxcarts with
their solid wooden wheels creaking along with vegetables and fruits
from the upper Labores; and Acequia Street, named for the irrigation
ditch that ran beside it-these were the names of Mexico and Spain,
not the United States."
The two principal squares, Plaza de las Islas [Main Plaza] and Plaza
de las Armas [Military Plaza], exemplified two of the functions of
Spanish colonization, with the third symbolized by the central position
given to the church, "built in the Spanish style with a low tower above
the entrance and a flat-arched cupola over the chancel"' [Plate 2].
"Around these plazas, or squares," William Bollaert noted in his
journal in 1843, "are erected a continuous walk of flat-roof'd stone
houses, resembling fortifications."'
In these houses lived the prominent families of this highly social-
structured town. The Menchaca family [Plate 4], which ante-dated
the Canary Islanders in Texas, had once owned a house on Military
Plaza. Jose Rodriguez of Canary Island descent, as well as of a Texas
family dating from 1716, said:
In fact there was a great distinction between the east and west side
of the river. The west side of the river was supposed to be the residence
of the first families here, and the descendants of the Indians and Spanish
soldiers settled on the east side of the river. On this side were the descend-
ants of the Canary Indians [sic]. Most of the Canary Islanders who lived
'Kenneth William Wheeler, "Early Urban Development in Texas 1836-1865," (Ph.D.
dissertation, University of Rochester, 1963), 20o f.; Benjamin Lundy, The Life, Travels,
and Opinions of Benjamin Lundy (Philadelphia, 1847), 48, 124.
5Frederick Chabot, With the Makers of San Antonio (San Antonio, 1937), 40.
'Ferdinand Roemer, Texas, translated by Oswald Mueller (San Antonio, 1935), 12o.
'Hollon and Butler (eds.), William Bollaert's Texas, 217.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968, periodical, 1968; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117145/m1/631/: accessed November 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.