Texas over Time: River Walk, San Antonio

March 10, 2015 Amanda Norman

Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph and postcard collections. To help bring some of those changes to life, we’ve created a “Texas over Time” series of GIFs that will illustrate the construction and renovations of buildings, changing aerial views, and more. Our collections are especially strong on Waco and Baylor images, but look for some views beyond the Heart of Texas, too.

San Antonio River Walk GIF

  • City leaders were considering closing the downtown portion of the river after the catastrophic floods of 1921, when the San Antonio Conversation Society helped save it by staging a puppet show.
  • In 1929, architect Robert H. Hughman presented his plan for “The Shops of Romula and Aragon” but after plans were halted during the depression, developers broke ground in 1939, beginning the River Project and what would become known as the River Walk, or the Paseo del Rio.
  • Flood control gates at the south and north ends of the horseshoe-shaped bend protect the area from high water levels which often follow hard rains. The concrete channel between the two ends of the bend was built as part of the over-all flood prevention program complete in 1929.
  • The HemisFair of 1968 gave old San Antonio River a new direction as the river was extended into the fairgrounds.
  • The river was named after St. Anthony de Padua on his feast day, June 13, 1691. In 1718 and 1731, five missions were built along the river, which was the start of what is now the city of San Antonio.


Fisher, Lewis F. River Walk: The Epic Story of San Antonio’s River. San Antonio, TX: Maverick Pub., 2007. Print.

Brown, Merrisa. “Wacky San Antonio Facts.” MySA. San Antonio Express-News, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.

See all of these images on Flickr. GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, student archives assistant.


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