Throughout the 1900s the city continued to grow. During World War II the produce wholesalers outgrew their surroundings and established the Terminal Market at a railroad spur on Zarzamora Street. When that happened the foot traffic around Market Square stopped and the energetic street life died out. But some of the merchants stayed, determined not to give up on the place where their ancestors had started out. Eventually they persuaded the City Council and Chamber of Commerce to create the first market committee in the 1960s. Headed by nationally recognized architect Boone Powell, the committee spurred the revitalization of the entire market area. The emphasis was on retaining the unique character of a working market, a place for both residents and tourists to shop.
By 1976, Historic Market Square had regained its color and vibrancy. Three city blocks bounded by Dolorosa, Santa Rosa and West Commerce Streets were turned into pedestrian malls, with stone fountains, ornamental streetlights, trees and benches. Today it bustles with activities celebrating Cinco de Mayo and Día de los Muertos, among other festivities. Working artists offer their handiworks from stalls and carts, and local retailers sell quality Mexican artifacts, clothing and art. Locals like to say visiting the square is like leaving town for a few hours.
The History of San Antonio’s Market Square by Mary Ann Noonan Guerra. San Antonio: The Alamo Press, 1988.