This past Thursday evening, I had the pleasure of being invited to (and attending) a benefit for the local Land Heritage Institute (LHI) of San Antonio, Texas. The LHI, founded in 2002, is a non-profit organization that is based upon 1,200 acres of open space that is being developed as a living land museum on the far (and I mean FAR) south side of San Antonio, immediately across the Medina River from the Toyota Manufacturing Plant. I was invited by Mark Oppelt, the President of the LHI Executive Committee and my former boss over at O’Neill Conrad Oppelt Architects.
The event took place at the Texas Star Inn (now a Grady’s Barbecue Restaurant) in the Leon Valley community of northwest San Antonio. The event was fundraiser for the LHI, and included reliving memories and discussing future goals of the LHI project, as well as some live musical entertainment and dancing, courtesy of George Chambers and The Country Gentlemen with special guest Clifton Jansky. The music was all country-western, and speaking as an African-American male who attended college at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas where country music is the dominant music genre (followed by pop and hip-hop), you learn to at least like some country music. Personally, I thought the music was excellent.
So yeah, that was the benefit, but what does the Land Heritage Institute exactly do, you ask? The LHI interprets, maintains and develops 1,200 acres of open space on the Medina River , while any preserving archeological, cultural, educational, environmental, historical and recreational resources for residents of, and visitors to, south Texas region. The land represents about 10,000 years of continual human habitation reflecting various South Texas & Northern Mexican historical periods, from Native American hunter-gatherers, to colonial Spanish invaders, to European-American settlers, to African- and Asian-American slaves and laborers, to Hispanic-American and Mestizo descendants. The large site also showcases a rich, relatively undisturbed river ecology has varied flora and fauna native to the southwestern United States, including a transplanted herd of purebred Spanish Longhorn cattle.
[Thanks to the Land Heritage Institute and Grady’s Texas Star Inn BBQ of Leon Valley, TX]