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San Antonio River Milestones

1700s
1719 San Pedro Spring

1719: First Acequia System is Built - First acequia is completed drawing water from San Pedro Springs.

Mission San Antonio de Valero

September 1719: Mission San Antonio de Valero Moves to 2ndLocation - Mission San Antonio de Valero moves to second location on east side of San Antonio River at the northeast corner of present La Villita area.

Mission San Jose Built 1720

February 23, 1720: Mission San Jose Founded - Zacatecan Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo de Buena Vista is founded by Fray Antonio Margil de Jesús a few miles south of Mission San Antonio de Valero east of San Antonio River

San Pedro Springs Park

1729: San Pedro Springs Park - San Pedro Springs Park set aside as a public space by Spanish decree, making it today, the sixth oldest park in the United States.

Acequia 1730-1800

1734 – Spanish Governor’s Palace is Built - “Spanish Governor’s Palace” is built near San Pedro Creek within the Presidio. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).

1800s
July 5 1819 San Antonio River Flood

July 5, 1819: San Pedro Creek and San Antonio River Flood - In a written report by Antonio Martinez, Gov. of Province of Béjar announces that San Antonio has suffered much damage and loss of life at the hands of a great rain and the flood of water from the San Pedro Creek and San Antonio River. Many homes have been swept away and many citizens have been left destitute.

1845 Texas Flag

December 29, 1845: Texas Joins the Union - Texas officially is admitted as a State into the United States.

1845 Olmos Creek flooding

1845: Flooding Brings Demand for Dams to be Built - San Antonio River and area creeks flood. Following the flood, the first proposal was made to build a dam near the headwaters of the San Antonio River at the end of Olmos Creek.

1851 San Pedro Springs Park

1851: City Officials Reserve Land for San Pedro Springs Park - City Council takes official action to reserve a clearly defined area for San Pedro Springs Park. The San Antonio Daily Ledger reported: A public square embracing an extent of fifty acres, has been set apart, above our town. From the heart of this square, leap forth, from God’s alembic, the clear waters of San Pedro.

1861 Texas Secession Flag

 January 28, 1861: Texas Secession - Texas secedes from the U.S.

1869 Brackenridge

1869: George Brackenridge Purchases Land by San Antonio River - George Brackenridge purchases 217 acres of land, including the headwaters of the San Antonio River.

1881 Pearl Brewery

1881: City Brewery Opens - The City Brewery, later to be known as the Pearl Brewing Company, opens on the San Antonio River.

1883 Lonestar Brewery

1894: Hot Wells Resort Opens - The Hot Sulphur Wells Hotel (Hot Wells Resort) opens near the San Antonio River and becomes the crown jewel of the South Side. The spa resort remained open for four decades and hosted a variety of celebrities over the years including Will Rogers, Cecil B. DeMille, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplain and Teddy Roosevelt.

1899 San Antonio River flood

1899: Flooding Continues to Cause Concern - The San Antonio River and area creeks flood.

1900s
1913 - Oct 1 San Antonio Floods

October 1, 1913: Record-Breaking Rain Floods San Antonio - A record rainfall of over 7 inches in 24-hours caused major flooding along the San Antonio River, San Pedro Creek and Alazán creeks. Four lives were lost and significant damage occurred in downtown San Antonio estimated at $250,000 (almost $6.2 million in 2017 dollars).

1913 Dec 3 San Antonio Flood

December 3, 1913: Back to Back Floods - Another major flood hit central and south Texas, including the loss of one life in San Antonio and approximately $50,000 of damage in downtown San Antonio (estimated $1.2 million in 2017 dollars).

1921 San Antonio Flood

September 9, 1921: “Big Flood of ‘21” - San Antonio historic flood kills 51 people and causes $3.7 million dollars in damages (over $52.1 million in 2017 dollars). The 7.38 inches officially recorded in San Antonio combined with amounts twice as heavy from higher ground to the north, sent a massive surge of water down the San Antonio River. All but four of the deaths occurred along the San Pedro and Alazán creeks.

1929 Olmos Dam

1935: Olmos Dam Saves Lives - Following a storm, the Olmos Dam proved its worth by holding back 20 feet of water.

1936 River Parade

1936: Texas Centennial Celebration - Texas Centennial is celebrated with a River Parade. (Photo credit: Visit San Antonio)

1941 Cavaliers Parade

April 21, 1941: Texas Cavaliers First River Parade - The Texas Cavaliers sponsor their first Fiesta night parade on the San Antonio River Walk attracting an estimated 50,000 people to the river. (Photo credit: Fiesta San Antonio)

1946 San Antonio Flood

1946: Floods Claim Four Lives in San Antonio - The San Antonio River and area creeks flood resulting in the loss of four lives.

1954 SACIP

1954: San Antonio River Channel Improvement Project - As a result of the flood of 1946, the U.S. Congress authorized the San Antonio River Channel Improvements Project (SACIP) allowing Bexar County and the San Antonio River Authority (River Authority) to enter into a partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to improve flood control along 31 miles of the San Antonio River and its tributaries. This involved realignment and channelization of the river system to move flood waters quickly away from urbanized areas. Construction began on the SACIP in 1958.

1959 SARA Dams

1959: Dams in Bexar and Karnes Counties Underway - Nine dams along Calaveras Creek (Bexar County) and eleven along Escondido Creek (Karnes County) were completed and plans were underway for additional dams along Martinez Creek and Salado Creek (both in Bexar County).

1968 Hemisfair

April 6, 1968: Hemisfair - “HemisFair 1968” opens on April 6th and closes on October 6th 1968.

1971 King William

1971: River Walk Expands to King William District - A major River Walk improvement south toward the King William Historic District was completed by Bexar County, the San Antonio River Authority and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project garnered the Chief of Engineers’ 1971 National Award of Merit for General Landscape Development.

1975 Riverwalk Holiday Lights

December 1975: River Walk Holiday Lights - William W. McCormick, president of Joske’s Department Store, in an effort to get shoppers to come back downtown, credited with convincing the city to install the now famous tradition of putting holiday lights in the trees along the River Walk. Today, the annual holiday river parade, which takes place on the Friday following Thanksgiving, is televised live and is syndicated for broadcast in over 120 U.S. markets. (Photo credit: Visit San Antonio)

1987 Dos Rios Water Recycling

1987: Dos Rios Water Recycling Center Opens - The City reorganized its water department into a new agency named the San Antonio Water System (SAWS)

1997 San Antonio River Flood Tunnel

1997: San Antonio Tunnel Constructed - Completion of the San Antonio River Flood Tunnel designed to work with the Olmos Dam to protect downtown San Antonio from damage. 

2000s
2000 Mission Reach Groundbreaking

2000: Mission Reach Ecosystem & Recreation Project Gets Green Light - Congressional approval is obtained to include environmental restoration and recreation as project purposes which opened the door for the development of the Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration and Recreation Project as part of the San Antonio River Improvements Project.

2002 Flood Damage San Antonio

2002: July. Floods Damage San Antonio - Devastating floods hit the San Antonio River and area creeks.

2002 Houston to Lexington

2002: New Section of Downtown River Walk Opens - The Downtown Segment (from Houston St. to Lexington Ave.) of the San Antonio River Improvements Project was completed and was recognized with a historic preservation award from the San Antonio Conservation Society and the Downtown Alliance’s Downtown Best award for the Best Arts & Culture Project.

Bexar Regional Watershed Management Logo

2003: Bexar Regional Watershed Management Established - The Bexar Regional Watershed Management (BRWM) partnership was created which brings the San Antonio River Authority together with the City of San Antonio, Bexar County and 20 suburban cities within Bexar County to work cooperatively on water quantity and quality issues.

Goliad Paddling Trail - SARA

2007: Goliad Paddling Trail Receives Designation - The 6.6 mile Goliad Paddling Trail in Goliad County officially recognized by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

2011 Helton Park

2011: Helton San Antonio River Nature Park Opens - The John William Helton – San Antonio River Nature Park opens in Wilson County.

2012 Saspamco Paddling Trail

2012: Saspamco Paddling Trail Receives Designation - The 12 mile Saspamco Paddling Trail in Bexar and Wilson counties officially recognized by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Escondido Creek Parkway

2012: Plans for Escondido Creek Parkway in Kenedy Underway - Planning begins for a linear trail park along the Escondido Creek in Kenedy.

2013 Graytown Park

2013: Graytown Park on the San Antonio River Opens - Graytown Park on the San Antonio River opens in Wilson County.

2017 Mission Reach Paddling Trail

2017: March 2. Mission Reach Paddling Trail Designation - The 8 mile Mission Reach Paddling Trail in Bexar County officially recognized by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

2018 Hot Well Restoration

2018: July. Hot Well Restoration Efforts Begin - Work begins to restore the Hot Wells Resort along the Mission Reach Ecosystem and Recreation Project. The nonprofit Hot Wells Conservancy will oversee programming for the park and raise funds for future improvements, including renovation of a three-story wing of the bathhouse for a museum, office and meeting space.

Mission Reach 5th Anniversary Logo

2018 - October 5. Mission Reach Fifth Anniversary Celebration - The San Antonio River Authority commemorated the fifth anniversary of the grand opening of the Mission Reach Ecosystem & Recreation Project with a photo contest to encourage the public to visit the segment and submit pictures in several categories for a chance to win prizes with an emphasis of outdoor recreation. 

2019 MR Flotilla Fiesta

2019: April. Mission Reach Flotilla Fiesta - The Mission Reach Flotilla Fiesta becomes an official Fiesta San Antonio event. The event, in partnership with the San Antonio River Foundation, is designed to bring awareness to the Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration and Recreation Project on the San Antonio River.