Wednesday, March 20, 2013

San Antonio

It got up to 95 here earlier this week – a record high for this time in March! 

We already visited the Alamo but little else in San Antonio.  This time we toured the Missions of San Antonio and the River Walk.

The Spanish in Mexico employed the Catholic Church to help in its northward expansion.  Franciscan Monks, along with a few soldiers and traders, walked from Mexico (they could not ride on horses or in wagons because of their vows of poverty) to Texas to establish Missions.  The Missions quickly became community centers and the Monks had a bit of success in converting some Indians from certain tribes to Christianity.  The earliest Missions were in east Texas but they did not thrive for a variety of reasons.  A few of these Missions were then relocated to the San Antonio area and others were also established nearby.  Why San Antonio?  Well, in a word – water.  There is a very large artesian aquifer in this area which is the water source for San Antonio and the San Antonio River.  The Missions were all located very close to the San Antonio River and the Monks were skilled at building aqueducts that allowed for irrigation of their crop lands which in turn lead to more community at the Missions and more converts.

The success of the Missions led to the influx of settlers from areas of the United States and to waves of immigration such as those from Germany which all provided the historical core of what is now modern day San Antonio.  But the success bred by the Missions is what ultimately led to the loss of the Texas territory by the Spanish and Mexicans.  The first Mission in San Antonio was the Mission of San Antonio de Valero, better known as the Alamo.

The San Jose Mission was next in the region, established in 1720.


It’s success led to the relocation of the Eastern Texas Missions of:



San Juan


And Concepcion



100_4977After touring four Missions we were hungry so we visited San Antonio’s famous River Walk and had some excellent Mexican food seated right next to the San Antonio River.  A major flood of the River in the 1920s led to the development of a flood control plan for the River.  An upstream dam was installed and a new channel was dug to bypass a big big bend in the river in the downtown area, But instead of turning the old bend into the originally planned storm sewer, a shrewd individual won support for another downstream dam that would basically create a complete loop of water that is now the River Walk area.  It is San Antonio’s signature attraction and it is an amazing collection of hotels, restaurants, tour boats, and gardens all one story down from the street level of the city.

The River looked quite green and our server told us that there was still residue from the River having been dyed green for the St Patrick Day’s celebration and boat parade.  Now why didn’t we know about that at the time?

1 comment:

  1. We've been to San Antonio several times, and always wished we could be there to see the river turn green. We did finally see the riverwalk all lit up for Christmas, and that was awesome!