King William-based Wings Press has announced its re-publication of Maury Maverick, Sr.’s 1939 book Old Villita together with subsequent historical notes and watercolors by his granddaughter Lynn Maverick Denzer. Book release, timed to celebrate San Antonio’s 300th anniversary, is set for March. The book will be available at The Twig Book Shop and other booksellers, as well as wingspress.com.
As a Depression-era mayor of San Antonio and a vigorous supporter of the New Deal, Maverick spearheaded acquisition of the La Villita neighborhood and its restoration by the National Youth Administration under the guidance of the legendary San Antonio architect O’Neil Ford. The book provides invaluable insight into the vision that Maverick and Ford brought to this innovative project, which combined historic restoration with economic development through hands-on training in and marketing of traditional arts and crafts. It also provides a glimpse of how San Antonio’s rich history was understood by leaders of the mid-20th century. Ms. Denzer’s update provides additional information on the development of La Villita in the intervening years, its connection to the River Walk, and its increasing use as a venue for NIOSA and other public events.
With La Villita’s modest streetscapes increasingly hemmed in by urban development, and after a series of tinkerings by public and private interests with its management and purpose, it is most timely and refreshing to have this clear statement of the original vision that saved (in Maverick’s words) “this storied district from inevitable destruction.”