If gondolas were to be the River Walk’s mode of water transportation, level bridges from one side to the other would simply not do. Bridges had to be high enough so a standing gondolier could pole on through beneath them. Thus the arches.
Narrow arched bridges of cut limestone have become the signature element of San Antonio’s River Walk. Although they now take various forms, this is one of only two designed by Robert Hugman and built by the Work Projects Administration, which constructed the River Walk with the City of San Antonio in 1939–41. One of several movies filmed along the River Walk, Miss Congeniality (2000), features a scene by Sandra Bullock on this bridge. It has been named the Hugman Bridge in honor of its architect.
Just west of this bridge is a series of arches designed by Hugman but not constructed until 1988. Designed to house small shops, they now serve as entrances beneath Houston Street to buildings on the other side.