View vintage photos of San Antonians paddling down the San Antonio River Walk in the 1940s

Former San Antonio mayor shared a gondola with other prominent SA citizens

Historical photos from the 1940s show San Antonians enjoying the River Walk.
Historical photos from the 1940s show San Antonians enjoying the River Walk. (University of Texas at San Antonio)

SAN ANTONIO – Kayakers were recently given a rare opportunity to paddle through the business district of the San Antonio River Walk and it got us thinking - what did it look like to travel along the River Walk in years past?

Well, thanks to some historical photos from the University of Texas at San Antonio, we’re able to see just how it looked to travel down the famed San Antonio River Walk as far back as the 1940s.

The preferred method appears to have been a canoe but there’s also a photo of Tom Frost, former San Antonio Mayor Walter W. McAllister and James M Gaines who was the then-president of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce riding in a gondola.

Tom Frost, Mayor Walter W. McAllister, and James M. Gaines in gondola on San Antonio River near Market Street Bridge, 1963. (University of Texas at San Antonio)

Below, two soldiers are seen in a canoe with the A.B. Frank Company in the background and a view of the Smith-Young Tower.

San Antonio River looking downstream toward Presa Street Bridge on lower arm of the river bend, ca. 1944. (University of Texas at San Antonio)

In this photo, people can be seen traveling along the upper arm of the river bend between Navarro and St. Mary’s Streets with a pedestrian bridge in the background.

Canoists passing flagstone walkway over runoff water from Majestic Theater air conditioning system, San Antonio River Walk, ca. 1947. (University of Texas at San Antonio)

Here, two boys can be seen paddling a canoe down the river with a rustic cedar light post on the right-hand side of the photo.

San Antonio River looking downstream toward the Navarro Street Bridge on the upper arm of the river bend, ca. 1947. (University of Texas at San Antonio)

The photograph below shows flat-bottomed boats and a canoe circa 1948.

San Antonio River at Arneson River Theater, ca. 1948. (University of Texas at San Antonio)

Want to see more photos from San Antonio’s history? View the articles below:


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