Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Travel Tuesday: San Antonio River Walk, ABT 1944

The picture to the right is of my maternal grandmother, Sara Melzina Wolfe Guokas Archibald (1907-1997), in the center with the hat, and her daughters Jo Ann Guokas (left) and my mother Geraldine Margaret Guokas Pape (right).  My mother was 15 when this photo was taken, which makes it about 1944.  They are on one of the pedestrian bridges on the San Antonio River Walk, which had opened to the public just three years before.

It took me a while to figure out just which of the many pedestrian bridges on the River Walk this was.  The picture below, taken in April 2010, shows a building with similar window designs in the background.  I still did not know what it was, though.  It seemed vaguely familiar.

Some sleuthing in Google Images helped me figure out the building is today's Mokara Hotel & Spa, formerly the Watermark Hotel & Spa, which is across the street from the historic La Mansion Del Rio hotel, where Breathless and I stayed in April 2007.

The Watermark was a renovation of the 1900 L. Frank Saddlery Company building. The Saddlery made custom saddles and leather goods for John Wayne, Pancho Villa, and Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders, as well as for the U.S., British, and French armies in World War I.  The hotel, which opened in December 2003, added four stories to the original four story building that can be seen in the background of the photo of my grandmother, mother, and aunt.
River Walk Bridge / Stuart Muzzy / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
The River Walk (aka Paseo del Rio) is a must-see, must-do in San Antonio for those of you attending the Federation of Genealogical Societies' 2014 Conference.  It's easily accessible from the Henry Gonzales Convention Center, site of #FGS2014 - just head down to the River Walk level.  If you don't want to walk, there are tour boats and river taxis available too.  What started as a 1920s flood control project for the San Antonio River has morphed into a gorgeous public park (mostly designed by R. H. H. Hugman) with numerous shops, hotels, restaurants, and other attractions.  Special events are often held along the River Walk - during #FGS2014, look for the Labor Day Arts & Crafts Show, from 11 AM on August 29 through 8 PM on September 1.

Pedestrian Bridge over San Antonio River, San Antonio, Texas / Patrick Feller / CC BY 2.0

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.

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