Belknap Place Centennial

Belknap Place Centennial

Belknap Place Centennial Celebration on May 21, 2016

Who knew concrete could be so much fun or so interesting?  If you attended the Belknap Place Centennial Celebration on May 21, then you know!  You also know concrete lasts a really long time: 100 years in the case of Belknap Place.

Monte Vista celebrated 100 years of continuous performance of the oldest concrete street in Texas by starting out with a toast!  The night before the big celebration, Dick and Leith Negley once again opened their fabulous home, the former estate of Portland Cement President Charles Baumberger to toast the centennial of Belknap Place and the generous sponsors who made the event possible.  All past Monte Vista Historical Association Presidents were invited, as well as a number of City and State dignitaries.  The crowd was entertained by Tom Masinter. Our wonderful bartenders, Cee Parker and Dick Negley, served wine and the signature cocktail of evening (see the recipe below!) It was wonderful to celebrate with many of the Past Presidents who helped to lay the foundation of the Monte Vista Historical Association along with luminaries from the concrete and cement industries that literally laid foundations and streets in our beautiful neighborhood.

Clint Lawson and Tony Garcia, Co-Chairs of the Belknap Place Centennial Celebration, did a stellar job of organizing and managing the event. Belknap Place was closed from Woodlawn to Mistletoe so pedestrians could wander among original Model A’s, Model T’s and admire a 1927 fire truck. Some of the owners even dressed up in vintage duds and looked quite dapper.  We are very grateful to the follow organizations: Alamo A’s, Alamo Rods, and T Fords of Texas. Thanks also to the San Antonio Fire Museum for bringing the vintage fire truck.  It was so interesting to see what transportation was like back in the early 1900’s. Entertainment was provided by the men’s barbershop group, the Tagnabbit Quartet and by dancers of The San Antonio Swing Dance Society.  District 1 City Councilman, Roberto Trevino, brought an exhibit of a new type of interlocking sidewalk. An exhibit by the Cement Council of Texas included a core sample from Belknap Place.  The Old Spanish Trail Association exhibited photos and maps. The dedicated ladies of the Laurel Heights United Methodist Church offered plenty of cupcakes and coffee. Paul and Trudy Kinnison led a tour of the sanctuary of the historic Laurel Heights United Methodist Church.  The church was designed in 1914 by Atlee B. Ayers.  Food trucks from Teka Molina and Lagniappe Today provided delicious fare.

MVHA President, Paula Bondurant, emceed the presentations and the dedication of the historical marker.  Monte Vista Historical Association was honored with proclamations presented to the by Senator Jose Menendez and Robin Harvey from Representative Diego Bernal’s office.  Jed Maebius presented a proclamation from the City of San Antonio on behalf of Councilman Roberto Trevino.  Dignitaries at the event included Speaker of the Texas House Joe Straus and Police Chief William McManus.  A special guests was Emily Denman Thuss. Emily and her sister Molly Denman Branton were founding members of the Monte Vista Historical Association the early 1970’s.

Bill Ciggelakis with Professional Service Industries and Jan Prusinski with the Cement Council of Texas gave talks on Captain Belknap: Soldier, Sharpshooter and Streetcarman and San Antonio:  Quarrytown and Cement City respectively.  Both presentations are archived on the MVHA website under the tab for downloads. At high noon, the Texas Historical Commission marker was unveiled. A huge thanks to the Cement Council of Texas for the outstanding job of documentation for this marker.  If you haven’t seen the marker yet, stop by Belknap Place near the Laurel Heights United Methodist Church and check it out.

We aren’t done with concrete!  Watch for information on Azulejos y Enchiladas (tiles and enchiladas) ¡Puro Monte Vista! Many of the beautiful decorative tiles in Monte Vista are made from concrete, so our next event, planned for August 6, will celebrate another form of concrete.

Thank You Sponsors!

We want to thank the sponsors that made this event possible and allowed the Monte Vista Historical Association to continue our mission of historic preservation and education. A very special thanks to the Laurel Heights United Methodist Church for allowing us to take over their parking lots for the day! This event was very successful because of these fine folks!

Granitoid Sponsors
Cement Council of Texas
Alamo Cement

Portland Cement Sponsors
Texas Lehigh Cement
Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association

Basalt Aggregate Sponsors
Ann Van Pelt
Texas Concrete Pavement Association

River Sand Sponsors
Portland Cement Association


Dolly Holmes

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Monte Vista Historical Association
PO Box 12386
San Antonio, Texas 78212