In the heart of what San Angelo residents call the Barrio sits a blue building on Hill Street, carrying over a century worth of history
“The floors use to be made out of wood, so the place use to be three stories tall. There was also a basement, the size of the entire building and that’s what we’re going to go check out right now,” says Ricky Villareal.
San Angelo resident, Ricky Villareal purchased the property over 10 years ago.
“As you can see the walls are made out stone, it’s a stone structure and it was used to hold up the weight of the entire building,” says Villareal.
“You can look at the wall, there’s brick on top and stone on bottom this was the indication of a stairwell that goes up into the second story.”
The building sits on about five acres and is currently being operated as a house of worship, The House of Restoration, but its history runs deep.
It started out as a Methodist Training School in 1904, then became the San Angelo Collegiate Institute four years later, being recognized as the first college in San Angelo. The building then became a Catholic school for women and later became the first Boys & Girls Club in the 1980s.
“I’ve talked to several of the community members and they say they’ve been coming here for years and they remember when they were 10 and eight years old coming here to the Boys and Girls Club,” says Villareal.
He says the future of the establishment is bright.
“I purchase the property over 10 years ago. God gave me a vision that I would one day be able to help this community and make a change. He said that I would make a non-profit organization to be able to help people away from gangs, drugs and alcohol.”
It was the partnership with a local pastor that helped push the plan for the historical site.
“This building existed before any of these houses were built. This place is meant to help people, this is consecrated ground by the Catholic Church,” says Villareal.
“It’s not going anywhere, so we need to do something and bring it up so it can be a vital function for the Southside and San Angelo and the Barrio.”
A local pastor says the plan, a few years from now, is to turn the building into a facility to help addicts.