Purchased in 1832, this 1.2-acre lot was owned by José Antonio Navarro, one of only two native-born Texans to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence in 1836. By 1856 Navarro had built a house, which he used as his primary residence from 1855 until his death in 1871. Historically located in the Tejano community of Barrio Laredo, the property now serves as a reminder of the city’s roots. It is now adjacent to the fourteen-story Bexar County Detention Center and the three-story Bexar County Family Justice Center, both of which eclipse the small one- and two-story structures on the site. The San Antonio Conservation Society purchased the historic property in 1960 and undertook a comprehensive preservation effort that included the introduction of a new interactive museum.
The adobe and caliche-block one-story Navarro House, separate one-story kitchen, and two-story Mercantile Building enclose a series of courtyards. The courtyards are unpaved, except for a pathway of stone pavers that leads to the kitchen, flanked by a variety of palms, ferns, lavender, roses, and assorted annuals planted in pots and flowerbeds. The courtyard between the kitchen and house contains clay pots filled with flowering annuals and palms, as well as a stone well-head surrounded by stone and brick pavers. The final courtyard is shaded by several large live oaks surrounded with flower beds featuring shrubs, tropical plants, lavender, and roses. The property is enclosed by a low wall whose south-facing facade, which borders Nueva Street, displays a 50-by-8-foot tile mural created by Jesse Treviño.
The property is owned by the State of Texas and operated by the Texas Historical Commission, which conducts classes on historic cooking and adobe-making. Casa Navarro was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2017.