A Dream Comes True for San Antonio, Texas by Jim Cullum Jr

San Antonio River with the River Walk. Photos courtesy Ken Slavin

In the early days of the River Walk, The Landing, along with restaurant Casa Rio, were the River's only businesses. Every new development struggled and staggered forward under the determined leadership of San Antonio dynamo David Straus. I was the excited young kid—22 years old and getting to play night after night on the River. I've done it on and on while the River Walk, fulfilling Straus' big-picture development plans, has achieved its world-wide fame. And 4 days ago, the dreamed-of locks opened. Along with them, a mile and a half of new River Walk stretches northward on its march to Brackenridge Park.

San Antonio visionary David Straus

This new River Walk project retains the classic flavor of its original architect, Robert Hugman. Limestone banks, staircases, pavings and plantings look like they have always been there. But what is so special is the lighting and art under the bridges. Each has been created by a different artist and they are truly spectacular—especially at night.

The new River Walk Grotto created by Carlos Cortez. Photos courtesy Ken Slavin

Along the bank a River Walk grotto has been created by Carlos Cortez, a famed San Antonio artist whose works of "concrete appearing to be petrified wood" already adorn the city. The walk winds and connects with the San Antonio Museum of Art before leading on to a final boat landing at the Pearl Brewery development. Everyone must visit this new portion of the River for a walk or a boat ride. It will knock you out! New generations will eventually develop businesses, condominiums, apartments etc. along the banks. The beauty of the new River will provide quite a magnet for business activity—not like the old days when David did it all by twisting arms. Check out the new River. You'll love it! And of course, end your evening at The Landing—we're still there nightly, swinging and having a blast! Read "Jack Teagarden, The Flood and the River Walk" Click here.

One of the new locks. Photos courtesy Ken Slavin

[Ed. note: The San Antonio River is undergoing a major expansion and transformation. May 30 was the official opening of a new section of the River Walk which includes new locks and a dam near Brooklyn Street. This technological wonder raises the famous river barges up nine feet to carry their passengers to previously unnavigable portions of the river—past the San Antonio Museum of Art and all the way to the Pearl Complex. Much more information about the newly opened expansion can be had at the San Antonio River Foundation website.   The San Antonio River Improvements project is sponsored by the City of San Antonio, Bexar County, San Antonio River Authority and the San Antonio River Foundation.]

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