Ice Cream in Plaza

Circa 1890


Ice Cream Stands in San Antonio's Military Plaza

San Antonio’s Military Plaza was established in 1722. At that time, it served as a parade ground and market square for soldiers stationed at San Antonio de Béxar Presidio, the center of Spanish defense in western Texas.

Like the adjacent Main Plaza, Military Plaza was surrounded by small residences during the early 1800s. After the Civil War, these buildings were replaced by commercial and government structures. The Plaza was ringed by businesses, saloons, and gambling houses, examples of which can be seen in the background of the photograph shown here. The center of the Plaza was crowded with chili stands, wagon trains, markets, and vendors - such as the ice cream stand shown in the photo below.

Additionally, San Antonio was a regional transportation center during the 1800s, and Military Plaza was its hub until the arrival of the railroad in 1877. San Antonio City Hall was built in the middle of the Plaza in 1891.