River Walk

For generations before the incorporation of the city of San Antonio, the San Antonio river was an important part of life in the region. It served a spiritual connection to the native peoples and the city developed around it, first with the building of several missions including the famed Alamo and later with the forming of communities surrounding these missions. This turned the area into the cultural hub of 18th century Texas.

The river continued to be the life blood of the city until  September 1921 when a devastating flood, whose epicenter was the San Antonio River, tragically ended fifty lives. The need for a system of controlling the flooding of the river was immediately recognized. A dam was to be built upriver (the Olmos Dam) designed to facilitate the bypassing of a prominent bend of the river that ran through down town San Antonio.

This area was then going to be paved over to create a storm sewer thus effectively preventing further flooding. This plan however was not received well by the San Antonio Conservation Society and when work began on the bypass in 1926 they protested and successfully stopped the paved sewer option. The bypass remained an open water way and no plans to further develop the system were discussed until 1929 when plans were submitted that would later be dubbed the River Walk by local architect and San Antonio native Robert Hugman. Initially not well received and thought of as dangerous by many in the local community, the project was spearheaded by Mayor Jack White and in 1938 building began.

In the years following, the River Walk has undergone several alterations and extensions. Today it is hard to imagine the city without its jewel. Running through downtown, and one story below street level, the River Walk is a network of walkways. Both sides of the river are lined with shops hotels and restaurants. The walkways and bridges provide easy access to many of San Antonio’s most popular attractions; while itself being very popular as an attraction and a top destination to anyone visiting Texas.