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A puzzling structure is discovered during excavation of the creek channel.

BEFORE THE SAN PEDRO CREEK IMPROVEMENTS PROJECT began, the San Antonio River Authority commissioned a cultural resources survey to identify archaeological and historical sites that might be impacted by construction. The study revealed many significant features along the creek, including a circular stone structure located near the Menger Soap Works.

As the project proceeded in 2017, further investigations revealed that the feature was built of rough, dry-stacked pieces of limestone. The fact that the stone was laid without mortar and therefore unable to hold water eliminated the possibility of its use as a cistern. Artifacts found around the feature, including bottles, pottery, and metal fragments, dated to the late 1800s and early 1900s, indicating it was newer than the soap works that opened here about 1860. Because of its location within the new creek channel, a plan was devised to preserve the fragile structure by encasing it with mortared stonework and exposing only the top portion above water. This puzzling structure remains an interesting feature for visitors to study and develop their own theories about its historical use.

Courtesy: Raba-Kistner Environmental, Inc., San Antonio.

The unidentified cylindrical stone structure is seen here following archaeological excavations conducted during the San Pedro Creek Improvements Project. The pipe running toward the creek from the bottom of the structure adds to the mystery.

stone structure 3a encased
Courtesy: San Antonio River Authority.

To protect and preserve the stone structure in its original location,
a plan was devised to surround it with a casing of mortared limestone. The structure is seen here before the creek channel was filled with water. Today only the top portion is exposed above the water line.