Casa Navarro State Historic Site

By: David R. McDonald

Type: General Entry

Published: January 31, 2014

Updated: April 6, 2016

Casa Navarro State Historic Site, at the corner of South Laredo and Nueva streets in downtown San Antonio, centers on the residence of José Antonio Navarro, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence. The site presently consists of three nineteenth-century buildings made of adobe and limestone. Navarro purchased the 1.2-acre lot in 1832, but did not make the site his primary residence until after the 1853 sale of his San Geronimo Ranch near Seguin, Texas, where he had lived since 1840. By 1856 Navarro had built at the site a "new and very tidy house," in addition to a residence already at the site. After the death of his wife in 1861, Navarro continued to live at the site with his daughter and her family until his death in 1871. The identification of the three existing structures, known since 1960 as Navarro's house, kitchen, and law office, is problematic. Only the identity of the house is certain. Navarro described the buildings in 1870 as his "house" and "the rooms at the corner of Nueva Street." The existing squarish two-story building on the corner of Nueva Street was presumed to have been Navarro's law office (or his store). Evidence, however, suggests instead that he rented the structure to individuals. Similarly, the identification of the existing three-room structure as a detached "kitchen" has no factual basis. The building was used as a residence in the twentieth century, and the same was probably true in the nineteenth century. Navarro's daughter, Josefa Navarro Tobin, inherited the site along with all its furnishings. She sold a portion of the property in 1871 and the remainder in 1876. To prevent the demolition of the Navarro site, the San Antonio Conservation Society purchased it in 1960 and restored it. The society operated the site as a museum until 1975, then donated it to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to be operated as José Antonio Navarro State Historical Park. The site was registered as a Texas Historical Landmark in 1962, and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Effective January 1, 2008, operational control of Casa Navarro State Historic Site was transferred to the Texas Historical Commission.

Zane Morgan, "Refurnishing the Home of a Prominent Family of Tejanos," in Texana I: The Frontier (Austin: Texas Historical Commission, 1983). Charles W. Ramsdell, San Antonio: A Historical and Pictorial Guide (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1959). James Wright Steely, comp., A Catalog of Texas Properties in the National Register of Historic Places (Austin: Texas Historical Commission, 1984). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Peoples
  • Mexican Americans

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

David R. McDonald, “Casa Navarro State Historic Site,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 16, 2022,

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January 31, 2014
April 6, 2016

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