Hugman Sites Tour

Thursday, August 25, 2016

5. Market Street Stairway

Bridges directly across the river were in short supply when Robert Hugman’s River Walk was completed, requiring use of street bridges above. The walkway south along the western bank of the Great Bend ended at this point. To cross to the other side and continue around to the Arneson River Theater, pedestrians climbed this winding rock stairway to Market Street, crossed to the other side and descended on the stairway at the bridge’s northeast corner. With construction of the Hilton Palacio del Rio in 1968, an arching bridge was finally built here so pedestrians could avoid the trek up and across Market Street.

Above the bluff south of this point is the site where, in 1891, drillers reaching 890 feet struck water with such force that a geyser spouted above the ground as high as twenty feet, and blew out rocks ―as large as a man’s head.‖ More wells were soon drilled, and the complex became a main source of the city’s water supply. Artesian wells here still provide water for the San Antonio Water System.

North of the bridge, a river extension was dug east in 1968 to enter the grounds of HemisFair ’68. As popularity of the River Walk soon sharply increased, the extension has been extended twice, for Rivercenter Mall and again for an expanded convention center.

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