San Antonio de Bexar: A Guide and History Page: 35
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little attention. In that year the corporation evidently saw the necessity of a
system of Public Education, and the question aroused general interest, for we find
that on February 14th, 1839, J. H. Winchell proposed to the City Council to open
a public school on the first of March ensuing, and offers to teach all that may
enter therein, the English language, together with penmanship and arithmetic,
provided the number shall not exceed thirty pupils. All this for the sum of $800
per annum, payable quarterly or monthly, as the honorable body may think
His system of instruction, the good man goes on to say, has met with
general approbation, as heretofore pursued by him, but he admits that it is
susceptible of much improvement, which he is willing to effect, providing suffi-
cient emoluments be given him, and begs a committee of three to examine fully
into the merits of his system and to report thereon.
Again this subject of education comes up on June 2d, 1844, when P. L.
Buquor (a well known old City Official) presented a memorial urging the utility
of opening a Public School, and stating that he is willing to undertake to do so
if sufficient encouragement be given him by the Council. A committee was
thereupon appointed, and it reported substantially as follows on June 29th,
The committee are of opinion that the law for incorporating the city, passed
December 14th, 1837, makes it obligatory upon the Council to encourage by every
means in their power the opening of a public school, and also to have a Court
House and Jail, and the report goes on to recommend a plan to accomplish these
things, and also to repair the old Court House, (this is prior to the ': Bat Cave ")
and fit it up in such a manner as to serve for both Court House and School
House. Certain lots were to be appropriated to this object, for Section 8 of the
Charter set aside certain lots for this purpose and for the endowment of a Public
School. This was recommended to be done as soon as the lots would fetch a
reasonable price. For some reason the land was not ordered to be sold until
August 24th, 1849. See Article "The River." Out of the proceeds of this
sale and in accordance with the recommendation, the " Bat Cave" was built.
J. N. Devine, in a long address on January 15th, 1849, urged the questions
of education, peace, law and order very forcibly upon the people. His action
produced the effect of a " Sunday Closing" ordinance, April 5th, 1849, for the
closing of Bar Rooms, Workshops, etc., after 9 o'clock A. M , on Sunday. He
also closed the Fandangoes for awhile. We mention these things to show that a
spirit of reform was abroad, and from this epoch San Antonio has been ever
watchful and generous in the matter of Public Education. Indeed, at this time
the tide set in which changed San Antonio from a blood-stained border town to a
progressive and prosperous modern city. And to-day there is an inherited
tradition of liberality toward Public Schools.
International Fair Grounds and Buildings.-These are situated
about three miles south of the city in a fine park on the banks of the San An-
tonio river and are used for an annual fair and other gatherings. The buildings
are handsome and spacious and among other attractions is a good race course.
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Corner, William. San Antonio de Bexar: A Guide and History, book, 1890; San Antonio, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143549/m1/75/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.