Tragedy and destruction
In 1819 a massive flood inundated the entire town between the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek. Many citizens then moved east of the river to La Villita and west of the creek to Laredito.
1819Then came the flood of 1819—and everything changed. Living and working near San Pedro Creek and the San Antonio River turned from desirable to devastating.
The flood was enormously powerful and seems to have covered a huge amount of area; it quite possibly involved both the creek and the river. Governor Antonio Martínez described the horrors to his superiors in Mexico, observing that “it was all one river” from the vicinity of the walls of Mission Valero, east of the San Antonio River to San Pedro Creek, which crosses the city on the west.
After the flood, a lesson had been learned by many: fear San Pedro Creek; fear the San Antonio River; do not trust them. And so, since most people lived between the two waterways and had a dread of flooding, the population shifted. The largest number of residents moved to the Barrio de Villita, which was on the high east bank of the San Antonio River. Today, we know it as beloved La Villita (the Little Village). Other segments of the population moved to the Barrio de Laredo, which was west of San Pedro Creek. It wouldn’t be the last time that our waterways would be perceived as both a blessing and a curse.