Lavaca is a neighborhood in the city of San Antonio, Texas. It is southeast of downtown San Antonio, about two blocks east of the King William Historic District and south of HemisFair Park. The area is designated and listed as Lavaca Historic District by The National Register of Historic Places.
The reason Lavaca gained that recognition, among the other San Antonio neighborhoods, is because the area contains many buildings, mostly smaller-sized homes built during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Some of those buildings are representative of the Victorian era architecture while others are adobe and stone saltbox homes from the Spanish era and the 1850s. Several styles of vernacular dwellings from the turn-of-the-century period, and more modern early twentieth-century bungalows are present in the area. The place has a livability score comparable to the national average, though some points below the average for the state of Texas. Lavaca ranks well regarding the availability of amenities and the cost of living. These factors, plus the sunny weather, are often mentioned by visitors and observers as pluses for the neighborhood.
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The most recent city data places the population of Lavaca area around the figure of 4,000 people. The people here have an average age of 40.2 years and there is one man for every woman.71.96% of the population is Caucasian while 8.32% of the population is African American and 0.36% of the population is Asian. People of Mixed or Other races are 1.64% and 17.22% respectively. In Lavaca, 63.6% of people are of Hispanic or Latino origin, and they can belong to any of the previously mentioned categories.
Lavaca seems to be in better income-earning position respect to other San Antonio inner-city neighborhoods, as 50% of the homes have annual earnings that range from US$ 40,000 to more than US$ 200,000. However, around 40% of the households in the area make US$ 25,000 or less a year.
Lavaca Historic District was approved by the City of San Antonio in 2001. Later, in 2002 and 2004, subsequent additions to the historic district were adopted. In the mid-nineteenth century, the land that now encompasses much of the neighborhood was developed residentially in a piecemeal fashion. Previously, the area was part of the Labor de Afuera or farmlands of Mission San Antonio de Valero, later known as El Alamo, and of the Elario Montoyo land grant dating from the Spanish Colonial period. The route of the Alamo Acequia, a Spanish irrigation ditch, begun in about 1720, extends through the area.
Lavaca’s residential sector is one of the oldest in the San Antonio area. It survived the impact of commercial developments of modern times, and many of the homes in this area are landmark structures of unique character.
Lavaca was initially a neighborhood comprised of working-class families. Residents were mostly of Germanic heritage, but also included those of Polish, Hispanic, and African American descent. From 1980 until now, there have been significant urban developments like that of Victoria Courts, HemisFair, Interstate 37, and commercial investments along South Presa Street.
Lavaca usually gets high marks for amenities, cost of living and weather, but average grades for education, employment, and housing. It gets flunking scores for crime which, according to experts, significantly reduces the attractiveness of the area. Having said that, those experts also point to the new developments that city planners are pushing all around San Antonio’s inner-city areas, which will impact the growth and progress of all the neighborhoods including Lavaca.
Crime continues to be a real issue in Lavaca notwithstanding police efforts to control it. The estimated chance of being a victim of property crime in Lavaca is 1 in 19, and the overall crime rate in Lavaca is 80% higher than the national average. The fact remains that, for every 100,000 people, there are 13.98 daily crimes in Lavaca.
BUSINESSES IN THE AREA
Lavaca neighbors have access to a large number of companies that are in or near the neighborhood. They include eateries of every kind, from pizzerias to steakhouses, to ice cream parlors and fast-food restaurants. Chinese, American, Mexican and other cuisines are present in the area. Movie theaters, personal and pet care businesses, as well as grocery stores like H-E-B Grocery and hardware stores like The Home Depot, are within walking distance or very near around Lavaca.
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THINGS TO DO
Lavaca ranks high regarding amenities, as it is close to several of San Antonio´s most popular city attractions such as River Walk, a public party that is opened year-round. They offer attractions like the Holiday Lights on the River and St. Patrick’s Day Art & Craft Show, and many other holidays tailored events. Visitors enjoy shopping at the River Walk Mall, and River Walk offers various restaurants such as The Esquire Tavern, one of the oldest bars of River Walk. HemisFair Park is another place of interest for visitors both adults and children. Sailing San Antonio River is another favorite activity for tourists as is SeaWorld San Antonio, a marine animal theme park very popular with kids.
Fort Sam Houston army’s old and new, from original historic structures to modern state-of-the-art medical training facilities.