Tower Life Building in San Antonio

Tower Life Building in San Antonio, Texas

The Tower Life Building dominates the skyline above the San Antonio River Walk in San Antonio, Texas.

During my brief trip to San Antonio, I was intrigued by the tall building just across the River Walk from where I was staying. It’s size made the building difficult to ignore, after all. So I looked it up and discovered that the building was built in 1929 as the Smith-Young Tower. At the time, its height of 404 feet tall made it the tallest building in San Antonio, a distinction that it held until 1968. It is still the tallest eight-sided building in the United States. The Smith-Young Tower was later renamed the Transit Tower, and it is now known as the Tower Life Building for its current owner, Tower Life Insurance Company.

Tower Life Building in San Antonio, Texas

The Late Gothic Revival architectural style interested me, although I had to look it up to see what the actual name of the architectural style was. These details on the lower windows are a reminder that they do not build buildings like they used to. Take an even closer look:

Tower Life Building in San Antonio, Texas

Check out those faces underneath the windows! And gargoyles guard the top of the building, although those were out of my camera range. Can you imagine putting details like that on your house? Wouldn’t that be fun? Wouldn’t it make the neighbors jealous? Maybe not. But it would still be fun.

Tower Life Building in San Antonio, Texas

This view shows the Tower Life Building from nearby at the River Walk level looking up. I had to use a wide view to get all of the building in the frame here. At one time while I was standing out there, one of the river boats came by and I heard the guide giving a few facts about the building, so I knew there was some history behind it, although I had to wait until later to find out what that history was. Thank you, internet!

Old Is Good

Some older buildings such as the one pictured above have their fans. But other old buildings are always candidates for demolition. And if you are cleaning out your house, you will probably consider throwing out the old things, which makes sense if you are not using them anymore.

But when it comes to people, do not just naturally dismiss those who are older. They have needs such as friendship and companionship that the rest of us have. And if they have outlived many of their friends, they have those needs even more.

For most older people that I have been around, you do not even have to be all that good at conversation. Just ask them a question or two, and they will be happy to talk. Ask about how things were when they were growing up, or ask about their parents, or memories of the old days, and they will gladly share with you. And you can learn quite a bit from them, too.

Love one another, regardless of age.

O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. - Psalm 71:17-18

Love One Another

About the Photos

Yes, I may be going through a minor black and white phase, but I felt like it worked well given the age and style of this building. Sometimes I have difficultly making myself convert to black and white, but it was easy for these photos.

As with the San Antonio River Walk photos, these were taken with my phone, because that is the camera that I had with me at the time.

Photo: Each photo is a single Raw exposure, processed in Raw Therapee and GIMP.
Camera: iPhone 14 Pro
Date: January 31, 2024
Location: San Antonio, Texas


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About Burnsland
Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through Burnsland.com, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.