This is the oldest, best-preserved structure in San Antonio. It began as a one-room house built in 1722. Three other rooms were added in 1749 (the date is shown on one of the doorways, along with the insignia of Spanish King Ferdinand VI). It served as the residence and headquarters for the captain of the Spanish garrison and became the seat of Texas government in 1772, when San Antonio was made capital of the Spanish province of Texas. It remained as such until 1821 when Mexico gained its independence. The last captain of San Antonio de Béxar, Juan Ignacio Pérez, and his descendants remained in the house until the 1860s. By 1928, when the city purchased the house, it had served as the residence for several businesses, including a tailor's shop, barroom, and schoolhouse.

It's not a palace -- this was just a bit of aggrandizement that came about in the 1920s to promote its purchase and restoration by the city. Up until then, it had been known simply as la casa del capitán. The building, with high ceilings supported by protruding beams, is typical of the way houses were constructed back then. The walls are a mix of adobe and rubblework, with a stucco finish. The five rooms are furnished in the way they might have been in the 18th century. There's a shaded garden and patio in back with a stone fountain and mosaic flooring. It was a 19th-century addition and remains quite attractive. If your visit elicits questions, talk to the staff, who are very helpful and know a great deal about the house's history.