Hidden Houses: Neighborhood Histories of Removal and Resistance

View the archived episode by clicking the image below!

July Screenshot

Mary Jane Diaz in back of Pecos St house EDITED

Vista Verde neighborhood, bisected by IH-35 and removed by Urban Renewal in the 1970s. Source: Personal Collection of Mary Jane Diaz

Like many cities around the world, San Antonio is a city paradoxically founded on removals, erasures, and writings over, beginning with the displacement of Indigenous languages and lifeways to more contemporary histories of Urban Renewal and downtown redevelopment. Curated by Marisol Cortez, Ph.D. of Deceleration, “Hidden Houses” examines key moments in San Antonio’s history of removing homes and entire neighborhoods from view, as well as the resistance to these removals on the part of residents. As recalled via interviews with people who grew up in places like Baptist Settlement, Hemisfair, Vista Verde, Cementville, the Our Lady of Sorrows neighborhood, and more recently Mission Trails Mobile Home Community and Soapworks/Towne Center Apartments, this episode considers the erasures that haunt the contemporary urban landscape and our collective memory as a city. UTSA Public Administration professor Heywood Sanders and retired UTSA professor of Political Science Rodolfo Rosales provide additional commentary.


Toudouze Eviction 21

Eviction of Mary Toudouze and family from their home at 123 Wyoming, removed through Urban Renewal to create Hemisfair ’68. Source: San Antonio Light

As part of the city’s calendar of Tricentennial arts activities, Hidden Histories is a monthly, magazine-format video series that pursues and preserves the stories, lives, and places that make San Antonio an inspiring cultural treasure. Over the course of 2018, Hidden Histories will premiere 12 monthly screenings live in our studio, free of charge. Each screening highlights archival interviews with community leaders; significant performances by musicians, dancers and poets; interactions with working artists; lost documentaries; forgotten narrative films; and vintage discussions of important community issues. Live screenings are supplemented by interviews and discussions with participants, family members of those featured, and field experts. Following each live screening, video segments are archived online for 24/7 access.

Loil and Estella Ellison, early 1930s

Loil and Estella Ellison from Baptist Settlement, razed in 1940 to create whites-only public housing. Source: UTSA Special Collections

For more information on the Hidden Histories series, or to view previous installments, please visit http://hiddenhistories.tv/

All live and online screenings of Hidden Histories are free of charge. Live screenings take place at the URBAN-15 studio (2500 S. Presa 78210) at 7pm on the first Monday of the month. Online screenings can also be viewed live at http://urban15.org/live-stream. Afterwards, episodes are archived online at http://hiddenhistories.tv/watch/

labella valenzuela 9.16.14 - tina walters' children, after pic was taken they were homeless for a month

Labella and Valentina Valenzuela, displaced from Mission Trails Mobile Home Community in 2014. Source: San Antonio Express News