Are you into exploring the beauty of mother nature but do not want travel far? Then look no further because located in the Bexar County city of San Antonio, Texas, is San Pedro Springs Park. It is a 46-acre park that is surrounded by springs and offers plenty of activities to try. This park is considered the oldest park in Texas. The park used to be the location of a Payaya Indian village named Yanaguana. It is also where the City of San Antonio is located initially. In 1965, the park was designated as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark. The park was also added to the National Register of Historic Places listings in Bexar County in November 1979. The park is often stated as the second oldest city park in the United States next to Boston Common. In this article, we are going to know more about San Pedro Springs Park.
The findings of archeological experts have uncovered evidence that there is a human presence in the area around 12,000 years ago. Experts also stated that the earliest recorded inhabitants of the springs were the Payaya Indians, who called their village as Yanaguana. In 1691, a Spanish Franciscan priest named Damián Massanet led the first military expedition in the area, which also marked the first European interaction in San Antonio.
In 1709, Spanish Franciscan missionary Isidro de Espinosa, as well as a procession of Spanish soldiers, voyaged to the area. In Espinoza’s diary, he described the spring in detail and called it the Agua de San Pedro, which means Waters of Saint Peter. In 1718, a man named Martín de Alarcón founded the city of San Antonio. That same year, Alarcon established San Antonio de Valero as well as Presidio San Antonio de Bexar at the Springs on the same location. Martin de Alarcón also built an irrigation canal in the area in 1719. In 1719, the springs and surrounding area were made as public land by King Philip V of Spain. Canary Islanders first camped in this area when they arrived in Texas in 1731.
More About San Pedro Springs Park
According to the original Spanish land grant, Francois P. Giraud, the city of San Antonio’s first surveyor, demarcated the park’s boundaries in 1851. The following year, the city officially declared it as a public park, making it the oldest park in Texas. In 1856, the U.S. Camel Corps decided to create camel stables on the site. And four years later, Sam Houston stopped here to give a two-hour speech wherein he opposed the proposed Texas secession from the United States. And during the Civil War, the San Pedro Springs Park became a prisoner of war camp. After the War, Buffalo Soldiers used the location as a training camp.
In 1864, Swiss landscape designer John J. Duerler decided to lease the land that is adjacent to the park, and he created an agreement with the city to redesign the park. He started developing the park by adding landscaping, picnic areas, a garden, an aviary, a zoo, a music pavilion, and a racetrack. In 1885, Naturalist Gustave Jermy decided to open the Museum of Natural History inside the park. And in 1891, the San Pedro Springs park suffered when wells dug into the Edwards Aquifer decreased the park’s water supply. From 1897 to 1899, the park was renovated under the supervision of Mayor Bryan Callaghan. Beginning before World War II began, the water needs of a growing population. That is why it decreased water levels in the spring again and dried it up for the next 35 years. During the 1990s, Bexar County experienced excessive rainfall, which replenished the park’s water supply. That is why the public became interested in the park again. From 1997 to 2000, the park underwent a renovation. They added facilities such as gazebos, a swimming pool, a playground, a soccer field, tennis area, the San Pedro Library, and the San Pedro Playhouse.