Grey Forest Historical Society Meeting
The third quarter general meeting of the Grey Forest Historical Society will be held on Monday, July 20, 2009, at the Scenic Loop Playground Clubhouse (located at 18249 Sherwood Trail in Grey Forest). They will meet at 7:15 a.m. (yes, that’s a.m.) and then drive (or carpool) to Rancho Diana which is located on Menchaca Road about 5 minutes away.
The Society has been given approval to take a tour of the property. The early outing has been planned due to the extreme heat. The tour should take an hour or so, and afterwards they will return to the clubhouse for a short meeting.
Rancho Diana is a 1,106-acre City of San Antonio Natural Area in Northwest Bexar County. Purchased in 2001 as a Proposition 3 Edwards Aquifer protection property, the land is a beautiful segment of the Texas Hill Country and is home to a large population of endangered Black-capped Vireos. Rancho Diana is not open to the public at this time. After baseline biological and other environmental studies are complete, the future use of the property will be determined.
The original European owner is “understood” to be a Captain Menchaca who at one time was the commander of the Spanish garrison at San Antonio de Bexar. The land was granted to him by the King of Spain (in the 1800′s). In 1932, Frank Granger Huntress purchased the property and is responsible for most of the improvements on the land. It is rumored that the Tudor-style, stone house was built first, and the stucco, Spanish-style house was build a few years later for Huntress’ son.
In 1955, John and Mazie F. Wagner purchased the property. In 1969, they sold the vacant acreage to Terry Thrift, Jr., and in 1977, when Mr. Wagner died, Mrs. Wagner sold the stone house to Mr. Edward M. Horne.
Around 1980 or 1981, Mr. Horne apparently fell on hard times and set fire to the stone house to collect the insurance. He was convicted of arson and sent to jail. Mr. Thrift then purchased the houses and compound area.
It has been reported that some “Indian pottery,” now at the Witte Museum, was found when they were building the bridges in the pool area. Several families with the Menchaca surname still live in the immediate vicinity of Rancho Diana.
As stated above, in 2001 Rancho Diana was acquired by the City of San Antonio to protect the quality and quantity of water entering the Edwards Aquifer.
Grey Forest resident Freda Hoffman, President of the Grey Forest Historical Society, has extended an invitation to all those interested to join the tour and stay for their meeting. If you have any questions, you can contact Freda at email address email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.