Wednesday, January 9, 2013
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio's history dates back to 1691, when Spanish explorers and missionaries first arrived there on June 13th, the feast day of San Antonio de Padua. Of course, the area had been settled centuries earlier by aborigines, but they had named it Yanaguana for its "refreshing waters", so prior to 1691 would be pre-San Antonio history. Early Spanish settlement of San Antonio began with the Martin de Alarcon expedition and the establishment of the San Antonio de Valero Mission (now the Alamo) 01 May 1718. Four days later (Cinco de Mayo, coincidentally enough) the Presidio San Antonio de Bexar was established a little less than a mile away. The mission was established to minister to the indigenous people, and the presidio was built to prevent incursions into New Spain by the French from their colonies in neighboring New France. The first group of European colonists arrived in San Antonio from the Canary Islands in 1731, which marks the beginnings of a true city at the site, which grew to be the largest in New Spain and later the capital of the Spanish Province of Texas. At the conclusion of the Mexican War of Independence in 1821 Texas was incorporated into the state of Coahuila Y Tejas and San Antonio ceased to be its capital. The war had left Mexico bankrupt, so immigration was encouraged in order to bring much needed capital into the state. The majority of these immigrants came from the USA seeking inexpensive land and business opportunities. By 1830 immigrants had become the majority and Mexico began imposing oppressive taxes, tariffs, and restrictions on the immigrants. After five years of trying peacefully to redress their grievances, only to have newly elected president Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna unilaterally abolish the Mexican constitution and most of its elected legislative bodies, Texans revolted in 1835 and won their independence on 02 March 1836. The Republic of Texas joined the United States in 1846 as the state of Texas.
Its origins in New Spain, its subsequent annexation as part of Mexico, its ten years as an independent nation, and its participation in major events in US history give San Antonio a rich, unique, and diverse cultural heritage.
San Antonio lies on the San Antonio River, which serves as the western boundary of the humid subtropical climate of the Gulf States and the semi-arid climate of West Texas. As a result, San Antonio has features of both climate zones, so it is hotter than most Sun Belt states, but less humid, and with warmer, milder winters. The city experiences light snowfall about once every four years and a tornado within 50 miles once every five years. The major weather problem is flooding, which is a frequent occurrence, often resulting in property damage and occasionally deaths.
The city has a population of a little over 1.3 million, with about 2.2 million in the metropolitan area. As America's 7th largest city, it ranks between Phoenix (#6) and San Diego (#8) in size. It hosts a major airport, and has all the civic, cultural, and entertainment attractions expected of a major city, including museums, a zoo, Japanese Tea Gardens, Six Flags, Seaworld, and numerous historical landmarks. The state capital of Austin is only an 80-mile 1.5 hour drive, and Houston is a 200-mile 3-hour drive away, making additional events, attractions, and opportunities accessible. Corpus Christi and the Gulf Coast are also only a 2-hour drive away.
There is a moderate supply of low-cost housing in the greater San Antonio, Texas, although affordable homes are not as plentiful as in several of the other cities I'm considering. San Antonio's overall cost of living, however, is second-lowest in the nation for cities over 500,000 population.
San Antonio is the nearest Top Ten city to Phoenix, San Diego, and Seattle. Not surprisingly, its air fares are also the lowest to these destinations, so traveling to visit my kids and grandkids will be easiest and least expensive from San Antonio.
San Antonio has several well established dojo already offering most of the martial arts I teach. It is a large and growing city, however, so there should be an opportunity to establish a dojo in the area. In addition, its proximity to Austin, Houston, and Corpus Christi could afford opportunities to provide seminars in those cities.
The area also has several scenic and well maintained golf courses with green fees under $30.00 for 18 holes, so I would be able to enjoy a round of golf at least once a month.
There seems to be very little not to like about San Antonio ... except the heat and the flooding. However, San Antonio's overall climate is probably the most tolerable of all the cities I'm researching, and there are usually parts of town that are less susceptible to flooding than others.
The only other potential concern might be crime. The published reports on crime in San Antonio are highly conflicting. Some rank it one of the most dangerous cities in America, while an equal number rank it among the safest. More research may be needed to find out which reports are true.
Speaking of which ...
More research! That brings me back to the statement I made at the top about San Antonio being "certainly not least" among my Top Ten prospective new hometowns. Before picking one of these ten and permanently settling there, I still need to know more about each of them. There's only so much I can learn from the Internet. But whether or not I will like a city will require that I actually experience it for myself. I've narrowed the list down to ten. Now I need to go visit them. So the next step and the next question becomes: which city to start with?
And San Antonio seems to be the logical answer! It has most of the advantages and the fewest disadvantages (on paper, at least) of any city I've researched. It is the closest to those I would visit often and has nearly all the factors I'm looking for ... its only major disadvantage (climate) being common to all the others, as well.
What do you think? Does it sound like I should head to San Antonio for a visit? Or, after reading this blog series, do you have a better idea? Please let me know!