The San Antonio River Walk is a City Park and 2.5 mile pedestrian walk one level below streets full of vehicle traffic. It winds and loops under bridges as two parallel sidewalks, on each side of the canal, are lined with restaurants and shops, that connect to the major tourist draws of the city. (Editor’s note: In some places it is written “Riverwalk” and in others “River Walk.”)
We were told that the San Antonio River is spring-fed from springs 4 miles upstream.
In 1921, a disastrous flood along the San Antonio River took 51 lives. Plans were then developed for flood control of the river. No major plans came into play until 1929, when San Antonio native and architect Robert Hugman submitted his plans for what would become the Riverwalk. Hugman’s plan was initially not well-received. Crucial funding came in 1939 under the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Today over 30 million people visit San Antonio each year and the Riverwalk is hugely popular.
Sights Around San Antonio
In 1691, on June 13, the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua, a group of Spanish explorers and missionaries came upon the river and a Payaya Native American settlement. They named the place and river “San Antonio” in his honor.
Today, downtown San Antonio encompasses many of the city’s famous structures, attractions, and businesses. The city has a interesting mix of old and new buildings. The following photos are just a fraction of what there is to see around the city.
Earliest Colonists Came From The Canary Islands
The Cathedral of San Fernando
San Antonio’s First Neighborhood: La Villita
In 1792 it was noted that a large settlement of families had grown up south of the mission San Antonio de Valera (later known as The Alamo). The area was called Pueblo de Valero. Eventually, along with the Presidio San Antonio de Bexar, the Villa de San Fernando and the surrounding missions united to form the town that later came to be called San Antonio.
By the early 20th century it had deteriorated into a slum. With construction of the Riverwalk underway, the mayor sponsored a restoration project to preserve this historic neighborhood.
Thanks for reading. Stay tuned…I will meet you next time from The Alamo!