16 thoughts on “Where I Live: Dignowity Hill

  1. And yet, Catholic Worker just can’t be allowed in the neighborhood anymore. Somehow the opposition to their work heralds for me the future of the neighborhood. Whenever a neighborhood is declared historic in San Antonio, property values rise and the original residents are either forced out by higher rents and property taxes or drawn out by the need to cash in the new value of their homes. It won’t be long before DH is as uniform as any of the other HDRC ruled neighborhoods. Enjoy the diversity while you can and consider whether the CWH is part of the diversity you are willing to accept and encourage.

    • Catholic Worker House does nothing positive for the eastside community. They feed people without encouraging or helping them to change their life by becoming
      productive members of society. Catholic Worker should listen to the eastside
      residents and move their homes out of this neighborhood. The eastside is
      trying to flourish, catholic worker says that they are doing a positive thing
      by feeding the homeless, but all they are doing is keeping this neighborhood down. The majority of the people they feed are criminals and have records, when
      catholic worker volunteers leave for the day, the homeless they feed stay behind. As long as the catholic worker house stays on the eastside, this neighborhood will never be a historical beauty such as king william, or alamo plaza. The city needs to remove catholic worker house from the eastside so that this area will have a chance to grow.

  2. Dignowity hill is such a beautiful neighborhood. I have a college with rental properties there. The views of downtown are unparalleled and the historic homes are so charming, even if many of them need work. Love what you’ve done with your kitchen!

  3. Under “Iconoclasts” you mention “charter schools” . . . tell me more! What do you think are the best options for families living in Dignowity Hill?

  4. Right now the charter schools most on people’s radar in the area are Bonham in Southtown and Hawthorn by the Pearl. The Carver Academy is going to become a charter school as well. I must say though, that even though I didn’t mention this in the article, we have high hopes that Bowden, the SAISD elementary school in our neighborhood is making great strides. Finding a charter school is definitely only a backup. We’re getting involved with efforts to support Bowden first and foremost…BEFORE we have kids!

  5. Part of the pioneering spirit that Bekah mentions is friendliness and support for each other. She and her husband bring that with them to Dignowity Hill. We need many more pioneers just like them and there is ample opportunity here to go around. One day people would look at this neighborhood and wonder why they didn’t get on board in the pioneer days.

  6. What a wonderfully written and an accurate description of the neighborhood and the community, especially after the support of each other at the recent planning commissioners’ meeting. Also as a marathoner and cyclist, living here since 2007, I have enjoyed the Hays Street Bridge. DH is very unique to San Antonio with its rich, diverse history and will never have that HDRC, uniform feel.

  7. Such an interesting read! Having bought in an “up and coming” neighborhood in Philadelphia six years ago, it’s fun relating do closely to what you experience in your neighborhood in such a different part of the country. Soon after miving into my home, I found myself surrounded by both like-minded neighbors who moved into our ‘hood because of its proximity to Center City via subway, bus or the easiest bike ride imaginable, and also an amazingly diverse community with all the food and unexpected holidays that come when you live so close to people from all around the world. In six short years, we’ve formed an impressive civic association and are very close to opening a grocery co-op – big strides considering people warned me about the “element” this side of Broad st was known for during my closing. It’s heartwarming to read about such a similar, overwhelmingly positive experience somewhere so different from here. Thanks for sharing!

    • My best friend works on H Street in DC. Very similar situation yours, I think. So encouraging to hear from other places where the process is happening!

  8. Bekah,
    Congratulations on being part of a great neighborhood and making a difference. You have leaders working together to make it work.
    I live in Government Hill and we are also working on having young profesionals moving in fixing up and all being pat of a great urban living life style.

  9. A refreshig read and spot on! I love Dignowity Hill and have tried to push it to potential center city fans looking to buy as a wonderful opportunity. Will continue to do so!

  10. I have enjoyed reading your real life story on Dignowity. My story is not all that different so maybe it isn’t so surprising I liked your story… biased I may be, haha. I love my craftsman home on Nolan St and enjoy the diversity of the neighborhood. Being at the bottome of the hill doesn’t diminish my great SATX skyline veiw and the access I have to the Riverwalk, Pearl Brewery, St. Paul’s Square and the Alamo (7 blocks away). Every year I look forward to the pushcart durby race in Dignowity park (It’s a hoot). I love eating at Poncho and Gringo’s on Pine and Nolan St. I love walking and joggin in Dignowity. It’s fun to see what house(s) are newly being renovated. The people are very nice in the area and have that southern hospitality flair we love in San Antonio, but it is still an urban core environment so some amount of vigilance is needed. It is true that the diversity of the neighborhood will change as is the history of most neighborhoods that go through gentrification like the Philadelphia example but the history is more likely to be preserved as houses are renovated and maintained and not burned down and dilapidated from squatters and/or arsonist (I’ve seen 2 homes in Dignowity that were diamonds in the rough only to be burned down before they could recapture their architectural glory).

    A “Fixer-Upper” can be a really rewarding life. I say life becuase it will become a part of your life as you have limited access to some rooms as they go through revitalization and as you wait for the next paycheck to finish up on the project that has been sitting for the last 2 weeks becuase you didn’t quite budget accurately, haha. This is part of the fun or you shouldn’t do it. At the end you get such a customized product you don’t get in modern homes.

    As an aside, I will admit I am not too sad to have the Catholic worker house leave. I am not sure it will happen soon. I respect their mission and their goals but it must not be blind ambitions guiding their behavior. I do believe we all have a part in helping the unfortunate but it must be with measured compassion that leaves a man (or woman) with something at the end of the day… does the proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” mean anything? Now I will quote SNL’s Coffe Talk skit, The Catholic worker house is neither Catholic nor a house of workers. For the most part the homeless keep to themselves and I will not bore you with the statistics of mental illness and substance abuse seen in the homeless population but that scarce resources may be better spent in those areas (Don’t give money to panhandlers please).

    I will also admit I am excited to see the proposed Austin St. Lofts and the Alamo Brewing company to break ground soon in Dignowity. I try to use history and not emotions to decide on whether this is a good thing and if South Alamo St and the Blue Star brewery is any indication of what lofts and mircro breweries can do for a historic district then I am all in favor (research what microbreweries do around the country and the world; they are very favorable outcomes).

    Thank you Jaun (home owners assoc pres), the easide SAPD and Ivy (our District 2 councilwoman) for allowing for such a great story to have occurred and to be repeated (hopefully again and again).

  11. An interesting and inspiring article. Credit to both of you for making the move. If more folks like yourself move then the area will slowly transform. I am currently renovating a property on Blaine St and would like more information / forums on transformations within the area.

  12. This is the best article I’ve read on this exciting neighborhood. I’d love to read about an update.

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