Residents say goodbye to historic building in San Marcos

Residents said goodbye to the San Marcos Telephone Building Saturday. The Spanish colonial revival structure was built in 1928 and joined the national registry of historic places in 1983.

The telephone company became one of the first to employ women and became a workplace for generations of San Marcos residents.

Michele Frazier’s grandmother was one of the first telephone operator’s she remembers running up and down the stairs as a little girl. Frazier said it was a time when everyone knew one another. "You could just plug in and say I need to speak with so-and-so and they would say they know who you were talking about," Frazier said.

Preservationists gathered outside the construction site of “the old blue building” for a funeral to mourn the loss of the historic structure. Diana Baker a longtime San Marcos resident said she hoped the demolition would start dialogue with the city.

The approval for the demolition came from the San Marcos permit office.

Griffin Spell, Chair of the city’s historic preservation initiative said the application never made it to their desk.​​​​​​ "We never heard this, we never had a hearing, we never had a chance to have a vote it was all done administratively and the first time we found about this they had the permits ready to go and they were ready to demolish the building," Spell said.

Spell said the city is committed to taking steps to ensure the future preservation of historic buildings. Residents are urging city leaders to consider a demolition review period, a historic services survey and potential public hearings. Councilman Ed Mihalkanin said the issue has become an agenda item for a budget meeting next Thursday.

The site is slated to be home for one of two San Marcos lofts.