Fort Sam Houston

Fort Sam Houston is a major military installation in the northeast section of San Antonio. The United States Army first established a presence in San Antonio at Camp Almus near the Alamo in October 1845 when the Republic of Texas was in the process of becoming a state. In addition to a small garrison, the post at San Antonio included a quartermaster depot. As early as 1846 the city was attempting to secure the establishment of a permanent United States military installation. During the Mexican War, the army established a mobilization camp at San Pedro Springs for Gen. John E. Wool’s army. In December 1848 the headquarters of the Eighth Military Department moved to San Antonio. Except for the period from 1853 to 1855, there was a regional headquarters in San Antonio until the Civil War. The San Antonio Quartermaster Depot occupied the Alamo on January 2, 1849, on lease from the Catholic Church. The Vance house, a two-story stone house where the Sheraton Gunter Hotel now stands, was leased for the headquarters. Barracks for garrison and officer quarters were nearby in rented buildings. The city made several offers of free land, but all were refused except for a small parcel on Flores Street, which was used for the San Antonio Arsenal, constructed in 1859. In 1861 all federal facilities in San Antonio were surrendered to secessionist forces. Federal forces returned in 1865, and the headquarters occupied the French Building. Between 1870 and 1875, the city council made several offers of land to the U. S. War Department for a permanent post. The War Department eventually accepted three parcels of land amounting to 92.79 acres located two and one half miles northeast of the Alamo on what would soon be called Government Hill.

On June 7, 1876, construction was begun by the Edward Braden Construction Company on a 624-foot square quadrangle. In 1877 the depot began operating from the quadrangle. Work was completed in February 1878. Total cost for construction was $98,366.63. A temporary hospital was built, and the garrison troops of the post at San Antonio moved to Government Hill in 1879. Between 1878 and 1879 the quadrangle was modified to accommodate the headquarters, but the headquarters remained in San Antonio until 1881 when quarters were built for the staff west of the quadrangle on what would be called the Staff Post. The quarters were designed by Alfred Giles. The largest of these quarters, designated for the commanding general, would be named the Pershing House for Gen. John J. Pershing, who lived there in 1917. In 1886 a permanent hospital was added on the Staff Post. Between 1885 and 1891 forty-three acres and sixty buildings, also designed by Alfred Giles, were added to what was to become the Infantry Post, making Fort Sam Houston the second largest in the United States Army.

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John Manguso | © TSHA

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Fort Sam Houston is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Fort Sam Houston is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Warwick)


Latitude: 29.46828730
Longitude: -98.43029360

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated