Victoria Courts – San Antonio TX

Project type: Public Housing
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Description

San Antonio’s Board of Commissioners created the San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA) on June 17, 1937. On September 1, 1937, President Roosevelt signed the United States Housing Act of 1937. This created the United States Housing Authority (USHA) and provided $500 million for subsidies to be paid from the U.S. government to local public housing agencies (LHAs) like SAHA to improve living conditions for low-income families.

SAHA made applications to the USHA for funds and the USHA agreed to provide financing for five projects; Alazan Courts, Apache Courts, Lincoln Heights Courts, Wheatley Courts and Victoria Courts. San Antonio enforced segregation in the projects; Alazan and Apache Courts were built for Mexican Americans, Lincoln Heights and Wheatley Courts for African Americans and Victoria Courts for whites. The federal government loaned 90 percent of the necessary funding, while the required 10 percent local contribution was raised through a bond drive. All debts were repaid over the next 60 years though rents.

Construction began on the projects in 1939 and Victoria Courts opened in 1940. SAHA demolished Victoria Courts in 2000 and rebuilt a mixed use community of low income housing, market rate apartments and townhomes, renaming the project Victoria Commons. Only the original management office of Victoria Courts remains and is currently vacant.

Alazan, Apache and Lincoln Heights still exist as built and are in operation. SAHA demolished Wheatley Courts in early 2015 and opened the rebuilt complex in 2016. The Civil Rights Act of 1968 legally ended segregation in housing. All SAHA housing projects are now integrated.

Source notes

Donald L. Zelman, "Alazan-Apache Courts," The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984. Texas State Historical Association (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117150/m1/159/), accessed December 10, 2015.  

Plaque on building

http://www.sacurrent.com/Blogs/archives/2015/03/02/wheatley-courts-completely-demolished-construction-to-begin-in-april

http://www.expressnews.com/news/local_news/article/SAHA-s-plan-for-Victoria-Courts-draws-opposition-4528375.php

Project originally submitted by Larry Moore on February 1, 2016.

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Location Info


400 Labor St
San Antonio, Texas 78207

Coordinates: 29.413528, -98.483976

6 comments on “Victoria Courts – San Antonio TX

  1. Robert johnson

    I have vague memories, but May 1941 we returned from the Philippines as Military dependents and stay at Victorian Courts for a short period of time. I never seen any mention of military dependents housed temporary at Victorian Courts?

  2. Joseph Thomas

    I grew up in the Victoria Courts in the 90’s, it was filled with violence, gangs, and a lot of murders it was crazy. I’m kinda glad they tore it down it made me a tough kid and the man I am today.

  3. Donna Marie Soria

    I have a long history with Victoria Courts. Frankly, I wish they still existed. They were bad when I was growing up. Yet, they were important to me. We ended up moving to Austin. But I wish I could still drive through there.

  4. My mother and I lived there for 9 years from the time I was 5 until 14. I attended David G. Burnett Elementary from 2nd through 5th grade and our Principal at the time was Kathy Jones. My mother was very involved with the association and at the school and was friends with Mrs. Jones. Mrs. Jones even kept me and let me play with her son Michael so that my mother, also Michael believe it or not, could attend classes. I have very fond memories of my neighborhood and the freedom of a childhood brought up there. Life is what you make it and my mom worked hard to make it a good life despite our circumstances. We hung out at the rec center and played spades and the YMCA had a summer camp for us and the Kenwood Players built a fantastic playhouse in the park behind the office building pictured above. We had Karate, Judo, and Self Defense classes and practiced in each other’s yards after school. We had a guy who would come play guitar on summer nights and we all hung out in each other’s yards or apartments. I remember one family was so big they actually took up two units. O. P. Snabel had a beautification project going where we kept the yards clean and even planted flowers and gave awards for the yard of the month. I remember we had Bachelor Buttons on either side of the sidewalk leading to our door at one point and a Pyracanthia (thorny) bush along the side to help deter the kids from running through that area. I was too young to realize this but friends told me later that the Carasco family aka gang were very protective of us. All in all, it was not a bad experience for me and while it could have been better, I still appreciate the diversity I lived with and learned from and loved growing up.

  5. Robert Was born on 221 fountain walk 1955

  6. Stanley Brite

    I grew up in the Victoria courts I am now the president of the Victoria courts reunion and committee we have a Facebook page called we are the Victoria courts

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