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Balcones Heights Mayor Clyde C. Crews,
Incorporated as a city in 1948, the City of Balcones Heights has always been an integral location within the greater San Antonio metropolitan area. The path of Hillcrest Road, the northern boundary of Balcones Heights, was originally the boundary of the royal land grant in 1733 from the King of Spain to settlers from the Canary Island. In 1756, when Spanish explorer Bernardo de Miranda y Flores set off toe explore the Texas Hill Country to the north and west of San Antonio, he discovered a picturesque plain and a series of stair-stepped hills. The scenic view reminded Flores of a rising series of balconies, and thus, Los Balcones was christened.
Balcones Heights' role as one of Central Texas' most strategic locations dates back at least to 1840 when the Union Pacific Railroad tracks were laid just east of the city's Fredericksburg Road. In addition to serving as a major part of the stagecoach route that connected San Antonio and South Texas to points west and north, Fredericksburg Road was a significant military route during those years.
Circa 1960: Film star John Wayne, cuts the cake at Balcones Heights Handy Andy supermarket following the world premiere of The Alamo at the WoodlawnTheatre.
In 1855 this road was the major artery for troop movements when the U.S. Army established Camp Verde in Kerr County to the north. From 1908 until well after the end of World War I, Fredericksburg Road echoed with the cadence of troop movements from Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, out to the Leon Springs Military Reservation, Camp Stanley, and Camp Bullis. In 1919 the Old Spanish Trail Association set up headquarters in San Antonio to plan the first transcontinental highway across the southern United States, from California to Florida. The route approached San Antonio from the northwest down Fredericksburg Road, its two lanes paved with concrete through "the wastes of green mesquite and yellow stubble." The trail was completed by 1929. For more information on the Old Spanish Trail visit www.oldspanishtrailcentennial.com.
In 1955, the old Loop 13 was widened into four-lane Interstate 410, creating a major interchange with Interstate 10 at the northern edge of Balcones Heights, bringing a blizzard of commercial and apartment construction. A preview of how dramatically things would change came on October 24, 1960, as celebrities flocked to the world premiere of the movie The Alamo at Woodlawn Theatre in Balcones Heights.
Note: This information is excepted from Balcones Heights, A Crossroads of San Antonio by Lewis F. Fisher, Maverick Publishing, 1999.