Trip Planner:   USA  /  Texas  /  San Antonio  /  Tower Life Building

Tower Life Building, San Antonio

3.8
The Tower Life Building is a landmark and historic building in Downtown San Antonio, Texas, USA.Construction of the tower began in 1927 and the building rises 403 feet (123 meters) and has 30 floors. The building, which opened in 1929, was originally named the Smith-Young Tower and is the central component of a partially completed development called the Bowen Island Skyscrapers. The eight sided, neo-gothic brick and terra-cotta tower (complete with gargoyles) was designed by noted local architectural firm Ayres & Ayres (Atlee & Robert M. Ayres). The building also housed San Antonio's first Sears, Roebuck and Company store in its lowest 6 levels.The other completed building in the development is the former Plaza Hotel (also designed by Ayres & Ayres), which opened in 1927. The property became the local outlet of Hilton Hotels in 1956 and was converted into the Granada Apartments in 1966. Subsequent structures in the development were never built as a direct result of the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression.In the 1940s the building was renamed the Transit Tower for the San Antonio Transit Company, which the Smith Brothers purchased in 1943. In 1953 a television transmission tower was added to the structure. Renovations in 2010 removed the obsolete television mast in favor of the tower's original design, a copper tophouse with a 100 ft tall flagpole.The building is now named for its current owner, Tower Life Insurance Company.In 1991 the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Bibliography National Register nomination, Smith Young Tower, prepared by Stephanie Hetos Cocke, 1991. Stephanie Hetos Cocke, "Atlee B. and Robert M. Ayres," Texas Architect, November–December 1989.
Use our San Antonio online day trip planner to visit Tower Life Building on your trip to San Antonio, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
Source
Create an itinerary including Tower Life Building
map
Tower Life Building Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
20 reviews
Google
4.2
TripAdvisor
  • June 26, 2017
    Saw this from various distances and directions and arguably it is the most impressive period building in San Antonio It is of architectural interest and it came as a slight disappointment to leatn tha...  more »
  • February 26, 2017
    The Tower Life Building, named for its current owner, the Tower Life Insurance Company, was originally named the Smith-Young Tower when it was completed in 1929, just as the Great Depression started, ...  more »
  • September 20, 2016
    This is an easily recognizable building in downtown San Antonio. It was completed in 1929, right at the start of the Great Depression. Only the Tower Life Building and the adjacent Plaza Hotel were co...  more »
Google
  • July 7, 2017
    did not lower their flag for fallen officer Moreno.
  • April 20, 2017
    Awesome building with great lights at night, definitely an icon to San Antonio's downtown skyline.
  • April 29, 2017
    Creating a nice night view with colorful lights!
  • January 23, 2017
    In my opinion, one of the most beautiful and interesting buildings in downtown San Antonio.
  • March 28, 2017
    Superior Garage staff friendly and professional

Plan your trip to San Antonio

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Where to stay in San Antonio

To be at the heart of San Antonio's buzzing atmosphere and attractions, stay along the city's River Walk. Lined with hotels of all levels, the area is known for excellent dining and nightlife, and is close to all of the city's main sights. While this area tends to be pricier than other neighborhoods, it is the best option for those traveling without a car who want to take full advantage of their vacation time in San Antonio. For a more rustic experience, venture outside of the city limits to stay at one of the old-world guest ranches that dot the beautiful countryside.
Live like a local, find unique places to stay
Millions of travel reviews on TripAdvisor

Plans in San Antonio by other users

18 days in Texas BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, culture, outdoors, historic sites, hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, culture, outdoors, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 6 days in Texas BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, culture, relaxing, historic sites, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: January, culture, relaxing, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in San Antonio BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in San Antonio BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in Texas BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 33 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: February, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in San Antonio BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, popular PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in San Antonio BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: June, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 12 days in Texas BY A USER FROM CANADA March, popular PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in San Antonio BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in San Antonio BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in San Antonio BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy
View more plans