A tour day In San Antonio. The River Walk and The Alamo

Monday Morning 4/28/14 and it was time to get our morning routine out of the way and jump on the old #42 bus and head to downtown San Antonio for a look see.

When I think of San Antonio two things automatically come to mind: The Alamo the River Walk and Missions. Most people have a good idea of what the Alamo is all about but how many know how the River walk came about? We really had NO idea and to be honest never really thought about it, but.

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A series of six major floods in San Antonio from 1914-1921 that covered areas of the downtown with up to ten feet of water and left fifty dead, led the city to study flood control measures. One idea was to run the river through a huge culvert and cover it with dirt to create and level park like setting however it meet great resistance because no one wanted to lose the river front look and feel. But in 1929 a local architect named Robert H. H. Hugman had a vision for the area, utilizing the river as the centerpiece.

Do you see the tree growing from the wall??!!

Do you see the tree growing from the wall??!!

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Hugman envisioned a river-level flagstone walk along the meandering river that would pass by rows of shops and cafes combined with a pedestrian mall at street-level. Civic groups quickly voiced support for this development during the summer and early fall of 1929, but the Black Friday stock market crash on October 29th shelved the project until it was revived by the Works Progress Administration in 1938. Hugman was hired in December of that year to prepare the architectural plans, including 17,000 square feet of walkways, 11,000 cubic yards of masonry, 3200 yards of concrete, 31 stairways, 3 dams, and numerous benches.

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Construction on the River Beautification Project began in early 1939 under the supervision of Superintendent Robert Turk. Disputes over landscaping and local politics led to the firing of Hugman from the project on March 19, 1940. Work continued under Hugmans replacement, local architect J. Fred Buenz, until the completion of the project on March 14, 1941.

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The commercial development was stunted by World War II, but a revitalization effort was begun in the 1960’s and the River Walk quickly flowered into the State of Texas’s number one tourist attraction and the hub of San Antonio’s tourist industry. Robert H. H. Hugman was honored in 1984 by the American Institute of Architects for his distinguished achievements. The AIA declared the River Walk as America’s Finest Example of Urban Design’s in 1999.

Now the River walk, or Paseo Del Rio, is a 2 1/2 mile stretch of beautifully landscaped waterfront that features many of San Antonio’s most spectacular hotels, restaurants, night clubs, bars, shopping centers and businesses. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the entire state of Texas, creating nearly $800 million a year into the local economy. That’s the short version LOL!!

The River Walk is really a neat setting and once you walk down the steps to its level below the hustle bustle of the city you completely forget that you are downtown.

We walked the entire horseshoe area and the spur that runs out to the right. If you notice that the blue line goes away as it goes past streets it’s because it goes under them.

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After walking the entire thing we decided to take the narrated boat tour as well. It cost $6 each as seniors and the tour was probably 45 minutes or maybe an hour. I lose track of time.

Our captain’s name was Albert and fed us full of information as we made our way through the twisting waterway.

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After our boat ride we found a nice sidewalk café named River’s Edge Café and Bar where we had lunch before heading back up and out of the downtown River Walk area and headed on a short walk towards the Alamo.

That's the boat we rode and the place we ate on the right.

That’s the boat we rode and the place we ate on the right.

As we reached the street level we remembered hearing that it was going to be another very warm day. While down at the River Walk it was much cooler with a slight breeze blowing through the tree’s and the thought of it being much hotter at street level never crossed our minds. But it soon did as we walked between the buildings and on the hot sidewalks LOL!! But for being another record breaking day for high temps it didn’t really seem that bad because it was a much drier heat than we have been experiencing the last few months on the eat coast. But we have been told it’s not normally a dry heat around here so we got lucky I guess.

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The Alamo

The Alamo

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Once we reached the Alamo we took in a short 15 minute video and dis a walking tour of what remains of the Alamo. To be honest there really isn’t much left but it is a big part of our history and has been on our bucket list of things to see. So we saw.

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Now I’m not even going to try and give a short version about the history of The Alamo but here is a link to a great site that will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about it. http://www.thealamo.org/ If nothing else it will get your brain working a little during your morning coffee on morning instead of watching the gloom and doom on TV LOL!!

After The Alamo we found our way to the bus stop where we jumped back on and made our way home. We pretty much chilled the rest of the day.

I did have a chat with a couple of our neighbors and as it turns out the folks next to us are from Grants Pass!! What are the odds?

Tuesday we plan to head back downtown to take a guided jump on jump off trolley tour around town. We plan to see a few Missions and other interesting sights. It is supposed to be in the uppers 80’s instead of the upper 90’s so it should be another great day.

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4 Responses to A tour day In San Antonio. The River Walk and The Alamo

  1. Tom says:

    The IMAX in the mall across from the Alamo has a movie about the ALAMO. Very interesting. We also enjoyed the Buckhorn (Texas Rangers) museum – although a bit pricey! AND, IF you make it up to New Braunfels they have some great German food at the Friesenhaus Restaurant! Glad you finally made it out of Florida!

  2. Richard King says:

    Glad that you enjoyed the River Walk. We have been several times, and it gets really decorated with lights during Christmas. Hope the rest of your trip goes well.

    Richard

    • Dave & Diane says:

      Thanks Richard. We have enjoyed San Antonio as a whole. In fact we are already talking about coming back and spending more time. I wish we had time to spare beings we are here but need to keep on moving towards Oregon I’m afraid. But there is so much more to see in San Antonio than we will be able to see on this visit.

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