Saturday, December 28, 2013

El Mercado/Farmer's Market

Today this building is known as El Mercado, the home of the largest Mercado outside of Mexico, but it was originally a farmers' market. It was built as a Works Progress Administration project during 1938-1939 after the existing, nearby municipal market house (known as the Giles building) was torn down. 
Photograph of the Giles Building on display at El Mercado
The new market was originally named the Municipal Truck Market because it was designed with a wide entry so farmers could drive their truck into the market and sell their produce direct from their truck.  However, the market was commonly called the Farmer's Market. 
A photographic exhibit inside the S San Saba Street entrance has a picture of the new Farmer's Market with trucks in front and a small description about the history of the market. 
In 1975 the last produce was sold here and the market house underwent renovation to convert it into the air-conditioned El Mercado. The building was painted turquoise and the interior designed to resemble an authentic Mexican market.   
The wide opening on S San Saba Street was closed in and the front of the building slightly re-configured. The surrounding area is revitalized and referred to as Market Square.  In addition to the Mercado there are several well-known Mexican food restaurants in Market Square making it a most pleasant place to visit!

There are two markers on the W Commerce Street side of the building.  I learned a valuable lesson as I photographed and explored the building:  always go on every side of a building.  I almost missed these important markers.  As I was leaving (thinking there was no marker) I just happened to see the plaques! 

El Mercado is located at 514 W Commerce Street in San Antonio, TX