Historic photos show what San Antonio park looked like more than 100 years ago

San Pedro Springs Park is rich with history

Photograph shows men standing on wooden footbridge across lake in San Pedro Park. Circa 1870-1879. (UTSA Special Collections)

SAN ANTONIO – San Pedro Springs Park is one of the oldest public parks in the U.S.

The park was designated as a public space by the Spanish government in 1729, according to the National Park Service, and the area around the springs was the original site of the city of San Antonio.

Prior to the Spanish explorers settling in the area, it was occupied by Payayas Indians who lived in the village of Yanaguana, the NPS reported.

SanAntonio.gov states that the park was home to camels in 1856 due to experiments from the U.S. Army and also housed prisoners during the Civil War.

While the area is rich with history, it has evolved over the decades and is now home to trails, tennis courts, a gazebo and a swimming pool.

Photos from the University of Texas at San Antonio Special Digital Collection show what the park looked like as far back as the 1870s.

Photograph shows men standing on wooden footbridge across lake in San Pedro Park. Circa 1870-1879. (UTSA Special Collections)
Photograph shows looking down from footbridge towards path through trees. Ponds on either side of path. Circa 1880-1889. (UTSA Special Collections)
Photograph shows view looking across the lake just below the springs in San Pedro Park. Circa 1902-1904. (UTSA Special Collections)
Photograph shows unidentified man and woman standing over entrance to former lion's den next to bandstand in San Pedro Park. Circa 1900-1905. (UTSA Special Collections)
Photograph shows two women seated on the steps beside the lake in San Pedro Park. Circa 1900-1905. (UTSA Special Collections)
Photograph shows unidentified woman on footbridge over waterway in San Pedro Park. Circa 1900-1905. (UTSA Special Collections)
Photograph shows two women, in rowboat on lake, feed swans. San Pedro Park. Nellie Rigsby (right). Circa 1900-1905. (KSAT 12)
Photograph shows women seated and standing on footbridge over lake below springs at San Pedro Park. Woman standing on right, in light-colored dress, is Nellie Rigsby. Circa 1900-1905. (UTSA Special Collections)

Related:


About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.