San Antonio’s Tricentennial: The River Is the Reason

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Courtesy / San Antonio River Authority

Protecting the river and its tributaries for the benefit of future generations is part of San Antonio River Authority’s commitment to safe, clean and enjoyable creeks and rivers.

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For nearly 12,000 years, the San Antonio River supported indigenous populations. However, it was when Spanish-colonial settlers formally named the area Villa de Béjar on May 5, 1718, that the City of San Antonio was born. Fray Celiz wrote in his diary that day, “This site is henceforth destined for the civil settlement and the soldiers who are to guard it, as well as for the site of the mission of San Antonio de Valero…”

Shortly after the city’s founding, Mission San Antonio de Valero – best known as the Alamo – was moved from its original location along San Pedro Creek to the banks of the San Antonio River. The Spanish and Mission Indians continued to build dams and acequias utilizing the river to support the rapidly expanding city. The past, present, and future success of the city is indelibly entwined with the health and value of its namesake, the San Antonio River.

During this Tricentennial year, it is vitally important to recognize and honor the significance of the San Antonio River and its tributaries. After all, it is why the Spanish, and the indigenous peoples before them, settled in this area. The San Antonio River Authority’s (SARA) Tricentennial celebrations will promote the river’s role in the region’s history and the importance of protecting the river and its tributaries for the benefit of future generations. This is part of SARA’s commitment to safe, clean and enjoyable creeks and rivers.

SARA is hosting and supporting numerous Tricentennial events and projects in San Antonio and Goliad. A few occurred earlier in this Tricentennial Year, including:

  • Goliad’s Massacre Reenactment & Candlelight Vigil – March 24-25
  • 3rd Annual Mission Reach Flotilla Festival – April 21
  • Supporter of the fireworks program funded by Bexar County along the Mission Reach section of the San Antonio River Walk which occurred on May 4, 2018
  • Co-hosted, with Bexar County, the Grand Opening of the San Pedro Creek Culture Park on May 5, 2018

There is still time to participate in other Tricentennial events hosted and sponsored by SARA. Mark your calendar and make plans to attend:

  • The Witte Museum’s exhibit, Gathering at the Waters: 12,000 Years of People, which runs from January – June 2018 (SARA is the sresenting sponsor)
  • 6th Annual Bat Loco Bash – Aug. 7
  • Goliad’s Rio Rio Event – Nov. 10
  • 9th Annual Museum Reach River of Lights – Dec. 1
  • Tricentennial River of Wishes – Dec. 15
  • Sponsor of San Antonio Stories, which is a series of short history videos aired on television, in Santikos Theaters before movies, online and various other locations.

Additionally, SARA produced the San Antonio River Basin Guide which recognizes the rich natural and cultural history of the entire San Antonio River Basin. The map promotes over 70 destinations along the river and in communities throughout the basin. An interactive Tricentennial Timeline featuring historic milestones related to the San Antonio River and its tributaries is also available on our website.

To see the full list of SARA’s Tricentennial activities, download the San Antonio River Basin Guide or to learn more about the river’s history, visit SARA’s website.

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