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Discover a Living Land Museum and a Historic Homestead District

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When was the last time you visited a living land museum? The Land Heritage Institute (LHI), found roughly 20 miles south from downtown San Antonio, is a 1,200-acre living land museum representing at least 10,000 years of occupancy by all the major cultural groups who shaped South Texas, including Native Americans, Spanish, Mexicans, and African-Americans. LHI also aims to promote environmental literacy and sustainable practices. They offer a resource for lifelong learners to pursue the passions of life such as art, hiking, riding, and all the various forms of wildlife watching.

Discover a Living Land Museum and a Historic Homestead District

Photo courtsey of Megan DeMers Janzen

Part of this property includes the 188-acre Presnall-Watson Homestead District. The site is located above the south bank of the Medina River; the address of the main gate is 1349 Neal Road, San Antonio, TX 78264-3531. Open to the public (on foot, bike, and horseshoes) on the second Saturday of each month, or by appointment for groups, entry costs are $3 per person, $10 per family, and equestrian fees are $10 per horse and rider. Check-in for events, interpretive art, and an annual camp ride.

Discover a Living Land Museum and a Historic Homestead District

Facebook/Land Heritage Institute

The Presnall-Watson Homestead District is a farm site from the 1850s comprised of six buildings, three contributing structures, and six significant archeological sites. The entire original sandstone structure from the 1850s was encased within a large, two-story frame addition in the late 1880s, which contributed to its preservation. One of the barns served as a pigeon house, boasting an extended loft with cutouts for nesting. Those living onsite regularly ate pigeon via soups, stews, and other dishes, reserving valuable livestock for sale at market. Read the story of land ownership (and appropriation) here, beginning with Juan Ignacio Pérez to his son José to Harrison Presnall to The Watson Family.

Discover a Living Land Museum and a Historic Homestead District

Facebook/Land Heritage Institute

Beyond the man-made structures, this site represents 10,000 years of prehistoric occupation, determined by found stone-tool production, campfire hearths, and freshwater shells. Archeologists conducted the excavation work in the time period from 1989 to 1991. They used bone and shell analysis and carbon dating to study the lives of prehistoric people. Mark your calendar and partake in this preservation gem just outside of the city!