Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Collection Summary

Biographical Sketch of Robert H. H. Hugman

Scope and Content of the collection

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

References to works by or about Robert H.H. Hugman (1902-1980)

Description of Series

Drawings Series

University of Texas, Alexander Architectural Archive

Robert H. H. Hugman:

An Inventory of his Drawings, 1938-1939



Collection Summary

Creator:Hugman, Robert Harvey Harold, 1902-1980
Title:Robert H.H. Hugman (1902-1980) Drawings, San Antonio River Walk, San Antonio, Texas
Dates:1938-1939
Abstract:Hugman (1902-1980) was an architect who left his mark on the city of San Antonio with his plan for the beautification of the San Antonio River. Born in San Antonio; attended the University of Texas and MIT; practiced in New Orleans (1924-1927); moved to San Antonio (1927); worked for the Works Projects Administration during the Depression; went back to private practice, employed at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio (1957-1972). The collection contains 63 working drawings (1938-1939) showing Hugman's plan for the San Antonio River Walk (Paseo del Rio).
Identification:HUG 1983005
Quantity: 63 drawings
Language:Materials are in English.
Repository:Alexander Architectural Archives, The University of Texas at Austin.

Biographical Sketch of Robert H. H. Hugman

Robert H.H. (Harvey Harold) Hugman (1902-1980) left a lasting mark on the city of San Antonio with his plan for the beautification of the San Antonio River. Born in San Antonio, Hugman attended University of Texas at Austin and MIT. From 1924 to 1927 he lived in New Orleans, where he was impressed by the preservation of the French Quarter.

Hugman returned to San Antonio to open his practice. His major early work was the Spanish-colonial-revival residence of William A. Turner (1928). Hugman's practice suffered with the onset of the depression; he worked for the Works Projects Administration and began thinking about the endangered San Antonio River.

Following a series of disastrous floods, including one in 1921 that killed 50 people, city officials built Olmos Dam and removed several meanders from the river downtown. Plans called for redirecting the flow of the biggest bend in the river and paving it over. The San Antonio Conservation Society, however, recognized the river's potential and had been working to save it. In 1929, Hugman provided them "The Shops of Aragon and Romula," a flood-prevention proposal that not only allowed for commercial development, but maintained the natural beauty of the river and its flora. For the next six years, armed with Hugman's seductive drawings of quaint, winding streets filled with shops and pedestrian activity, they lobbied city officials and property owners along the river. Funding did not come until 1938, however, when Congressman Maury Maverick secured partial assistance from the WPA. In a 1978 speech Hugman recalled how a bond election for the remaining funds was rigged by the Plaza Hotel manager (and future mayor) John White and compliant city officials to exclude property owners opposed to the project and to include the residents of the hotel who "owned as much as a watch."

Hugman was appointed architect for the project and work began in 1939. Although not as extensive as his original proposal, the WPA project resulted in the improvement of more than 21 blocks along the river including the construction of 17,000 feet of walkways, 31 stairways leading from 21 bridges, and the planting of more than 11,000 trees and shrubs. The construction of the Arneson River Theater, located alongside La Villita, represented the picturesque vision of what the Paseo del Rio could become.

Nevertheless, things did not proceed smoothly. Hugman was dismissed from the project in March 1940 on the premise that he failed to hire a landscape architect at his own expense and to supply certain plans. He moved his office to the river level of James Riely Gordon's 1891 Clifford Building hoping to encourage others to locate along the river. But the Riverwalk began deteriorating in the mid-40's, a process that continued until Hugman's original vision was rediscovered by a new generation of conservationists and city official in the 1960s.

From 1957 until his retirement in 1972, Hugman was employed at Randolph Air Base. He was honored in 1978 with the dedication of the five bronze bells in the Arneson River Theater. The Paseo del Rio was cited as a Distinguished Achievement in the 1984 AIA Honors program.

-Lila Knight

-From "Texas 50." Texas Architect (Nov./Dec. 1989): p. 52

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Scope and Content of the collection

This record group contains 63 working drawings (1938-1939) showing Hugman's Plans for the Improvement of the San Antonio River (Paseo del Rio), Fourth Street South to Villita Street, San Antonio, Texas.

Hugman began work on the design for the project in 1929 in an effort to save the river from being paved over as a flood prevention plan. Completed in 1941, the project spanned 21 blocks of downtown San Antonio and has served as a model of success in urban planning.

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Restrictions

Policies Governing Use and Access

This collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using archival materials. As all or portions of this collection may be housed off-site, advance notice of at least three working days is required for retrieval. Certain items may require additional time for flattening or humidifying before they can be viewed. Access is by appointment only. Please contact the archives' reference staff for further information.

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasions of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person).

The Alexander Architectural Archives operate in accordance with applicable federal or state laws and regulations, providing unrestricted access to university records not covered by state and federal right to privacy acts.

The Alexander Architectural Archives, The University of Texas Libraries, and The University of Texas at Austin, assume no responsibility for infringement of literary property rights and copyright or for liability to any person for defamation or invasion of privacy that results from a researcher's use of collections.

Researchers agree to indemnify and hold harmless The University of Texas at Austin, and their officers, employees, and agents from and against all suits, claims, actions, and expenses arising out of use of collections held by the libraries. Please alert staff if anything inappropriate is found during research.

Copyright interests in this collection may not have been transferred to the University of Texas. Researchers assume full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply. Additionally, the public use of material must be cited. See citation information below.

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Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Texas Online Catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Persons:
Hugman, Robert Harvey Harold, 1902-1980.--Archives.
Subjects:
Paseo del Rio (San Antonio, Tex.)
City planning--Texas--San Antonio.
Parks--Texas--San Antonio.
Document types:
Working drawings.

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Related Material

The Robert H. H. Hugman Collection held by the San Antonio Conservation Society consists of watercolors, sketches, and pencil drawings of San Antonio Riverwalk scenes and text documents relating to the Riverwalk.

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Administrative Information

Citation

Robert H. H. Hugman (1902-1980) Drawings, 1938-1939, San Antonio River Walk, San Antonio, Texas, the Alexander Architectural Archives, the General Libraries, the University of Texas at Austin

Processing Information

Lila Knight, Fall 1983.

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Other Finding Aids

Unpublished inventory in Archive.

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References to works by or about Robert H.H. Hugman (1902-1980)

Black, Sinclair. "San Antonio's Linear Paradise." AIA Journal 68 (July 1979): p. 30-9.

George, Mary Carolyn Hollers. O'Neil Ford, Architect. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1992.

"Institute Honors to Nine for `Distinguished Achievements.'" AIA Journal 73 (February 1984): p. 14.

"Robert H.H. Hugman San Antonio Citation of Honor." Texas Architect 28 (November/December 1978): p. 44.

Speck, Lawrence. Landmarks of Texas Architecture. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986.

Zunker, Vernon G. A Dream Come True: Robert Hugman and San Antonio's River Walk. San Antonio: V.G. Zunker, 1983.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Drawings Series

Series Abstract
The drawings series contains 63 working drawings (1938-1939) showing Hugman's Plans for the improvement of the San Antonio River (Paseo del Rio), Fourth Street South to Villita Street, San Antonio, Texas. For more detailed information regarding these materials, see the unpublished finding aid in the Archive.

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