Dignowity Hill is an area of the great city of San Antonio, Texas. The neighborhood is a local historic district bounded by Sherman Street on the north, Commerce Street and Paso Hondo on the south, Palmetto Street on the east, and Cherry Street on the west. Dignowity Hill was San Antonio’s first exclusive residential suburb. The area was settled by Dr. Anthony Michael Dignowity, a physician, and a Czech immigrant, who built his family home on a hill to the east of town and called it Harmony House.
The area has many of the same problems that plague inner-city neighborhoods in San Antonio: widespread poverty, crime, and decaying infrastructure. However, it has a strong neighbors association, is the object of some renovation programs that the City is carrying out to revitalize the east side, and is going through a gentrification process that is changing the face of the zone and making property prices skyrocket.
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Dignowity Hill, a 150-year-old area that has historically been the African-American and Chicano part of town, is changing its demographic makeup. Today, it’s evolving from its historic roots into something more diverse. Many longtime residents in the neighborhood have seen a flock of newcomers in recent years, such as more artists and professionals. Black people have been leaving the area for years too and, until the process settles down, it´s difficult to know what Dignowity Hill will look like in the future.
So far, however, the composition of the area is 69.65% Caucasians, 16.32% African American people and 0.26% Asian. Mixed and Other Race comprise 13.85% of the area´s people. The general composition of the population takes into account that Hispanic or Latino people may belong to any racial group.
Dignowity Hill residents show extreme differences when it comes to describing the population income distribution. While a relatively significant amount of residents, 38%, report annual income that ranges from US$ 40,000 to more than US$ 200,000, another large segment has a yearly income of less than US$ 25,000. This figures should change as the gentrification of the neighborhood continues.
After Dr. Anthony Michael Dignowity built his home, the area became home to prominent San Antonio merchants and business owners who constructed large estates. Dignowity Hill, as it was later called, was an exclusive and affluent residential area in San Antonio due to its high elevation, proximity to downtown, the size of the lots, and lack of city water, which required residents to construct expensive water collecting systems. In 1877 the environment and demography of the neighborhood started to change and, in 1926, five decades after the demolition of Harmony House, Doctor Dignowity´s property became Dignowity Park.
Dignowity Hill is considered by many observers a hot spot for crime, as are most of the neighborhoods in the infamous Eastside. However, City officials are fast to point out that for a large metropolis, San Antonio´s crime rates are not so high. They say the city ranks fifth in the list among the ten largest cities in the U.S., taking into account the violent crime rate per 100,000 residents. The fact remains, though, that violent crime seems to be on the rise on the Eastside and a resident In Dignowity Hill has a 1 in 13 chance of becoming a victim of any wrongdoing.
BUSINESSES THAT OPERATE IN THE AREA
Dignowity Hill is an area of San Antonio that has many companies in and around it. Because of City renovation plans, new companies are being attracted to the neighborhood. Neighbors have access to restaurants, personal and pet care units, fast food outlets, grocery and hardware stores as well as the attractions the city has near the San Antonio River such as River Walk. Coyote Ugly Saloon is a favorite bar, and for meat eaters, there is Dignowity Meats next door to Alamo Beer Co. The Dignowity Hill Farmer’s Market opens every second and fourth Sunday of each month to offer fresh produce to the area´s neighbors. The number of businesses to provide service inDignowity Hill is expected to grow shortly.
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THINGS TO DO
Most of the attractions, parks, theaters, prominent restaurants and shopping malls in San Antonio are relatively close to Dignowity Hill; it is reasonably easy for a visitor or resident of the neighborhood to have access to SeaWorld San Antonio or San Antonio River water attractions. At the same time, there are two parks nested in the heart of the neighborhood, Lockwood Park, and Dignowty Park, where people can relax during sunny weekends.
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