Every major city in this great country has its unique cultural corridors or neighborhoods and some cities are defined by them. San Antonio is no different with its incredible pioneer history. This city will celebrate 300 years of its existence in 2018. Most people know the city for the “Alamo” and the spirit of rugged individualism. This is a great city with hidden treasures all throughout the region. I believe one of those treasures exists at the heart of where the city began its nearly 300 year existence. Little Italy San Antonio represents everything this city was founded on. As early as the 1870s Italians from southern Italy specifically from a town in the Calabria region known as Spezzano della Sila migrated to San Antonio. They would settle in the northwest part of downtown and band together to form their very own Italian neighborhood. In 1890 they would create the country’s oldest Italian organization known as the Christopher Columbus Italian Society.
In 1927, the midst of the Great Depression their organization intrepidly built the now historic San Francesco Di Paola church and the CCIS Hall. In the late 1950s the highway act commissioned I35 and I10, cutting through the old italian neighborhood. The only remnants of the neighborhood are the church, the hall and Christopher Columbus Park. Little Italy San Antonio is a non-profit development seeking help to salvage the authentic history that exists today. Members are getting older and their generation is threatened with consequence of a forgotten legacy. LISA will provide a community/cultural center rich in authentic italian history that is unique to San Antonio. We must tell this story where it began and ensure a legacy that we can all appreciate. San Antonio is Awesome, especially for its history which is weaved into the fabric for all of us to enjoy.
Funded by San Antonio, TX (December 2013)