August 25, 2019

San Pedro Springs and Park


The Rose Window of San Jose, San Antonio, TX



The Rose Window of San Jose Chapter placed this marker in 1979.


Marker is on right, atop of the short brick stack at base of tree; just right of the bridge.

San Pedro Springs is the name of a cluster of springs in Bexar County, Texas, U.S.A. These springs provide water for San Pedro Creek, which flows into the San Antonio River. The San Pedro Springs are located in Midtown San Antonio, about 1.6 miles (2.6 km) north of Downtown San Antonio. Most of the springs are within San Pedro Springs Park, the oldest park in Texas. The springs are fed by water from the Edwards Aquifer; this water reaches the surface through faults along the Balcones Escarpment. There are 13 primary springs, but they seldom flow due to pumping demands on the Edwards Aquifer.

When the expedition led by Father Antonio de San Buenaventura de Olivares, and accompanied by Father Isidro Felix de Espinosa, these springs got a name that lasted in history. On April 13, 1709, Father Espinosa arrived at the springs with the rest of the travelers and wrote: “… after going through a mesquite flat and some holm-oak groves we came to an irrigation ditch, bordered by many trees and with enough water to supply a town. It was full of taps or sluices of water, the earth being terraced. We named it San Pedro Springs.”

In 1718, another Spanish missionary, Father Olivares, built a mission nearby that he named San Antonio de Valero. This was the first permanent European settlement in San Antonio. In 1729, the king of Spain, King Philip V, declared the land around San Pedro Springs as public land. In the 1730s, an acequia was built to carry water from the springs toward the city for irrigation and household use.

By the 1870s, the springs provided water for boating, fishing and swimming. A municipal swimming pool was built in the park in 1922; it was replaced in 1954 and again in 2000. Today the park comprises 46 acres.

The oldest public park in the United States is the Boston Commons, Boston, MA, having been declared public land in 1634. The second oldest park in the United States is San Pedro Springs Park, declared public land in 1729. Since no other public park in Texas can claim heritage before 1729, San Pedro Springs Park is the oldest public park in Texas.


Marker in center of picture, above left entrance of bridge.