Hugman Sites Tour

Monday, August 22, 2016

4. Rosita's Bridge

This is one of two River Walk bridges designed by Robert Hugman. It was named in 1992 in honor of Rosita Fernandez, who crossed it during her twenty-six years of singing—often in Spanish—at the summertime Fiesta Noche del Rio. A Japanese television series on Bridges of the World noted that bridges like the London Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge take people from one side to another, while Rosita made it a bridge that unites cultures.

Rosita’s Bridge and the Arneson River Theater comprise perhaps Hugman’s most inspired design along the River Walk. He had the bank cleared for concrete seating, the risers stressed to give the impression the tiers were carved from natural rock. The river’s narrow width permitted a stage on the far side without changing the scale of the river. Here he could use most elements of his Spanish theme—red tile roofs, iron balconies, fanciful stonework, even a dovecote beside the stage house.

Although Robert Hugman had fallen into obscurity after the River Walk drew little initial use, his reputation was restored after the city’s world’s fair, HemisFair ’68, brought substantial pedestrian traffic to the River Walk. The bell tower he designed for the theater stage was named in his honor and he was the first to ring its new bells, in 1978, two years before his death at 78.

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