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Flowing with Culture

San Pedro Creek is where the Spanish first settled in our community and where the Payaya people lived for thousands of years prior to the Spanish settlements. Over the course of the last 300 years, many groups lived, worked and worshipped along San Pedro Creek. This historic creek became the location where the convergence of civilizations in our community took root and evolved.

Key Features

Linear Feet of Historic Wall Preserved
Interpretive Signs
Tile Benches

years ago

Before “history” was even being written down

Archaeologists and paleontologists tell us that there are many signs of prehistoric human habitation here from as far back as 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. The waters of the spring-fed creek were a source of sustenance and refreshment for the indigenous people who were the first to settle here.

June 13, 1691

The “beginning of the beginning” of San Antonio

Imagine what it must have been like for Governor Domingo Terán de los Ríos, the leader of a group of Spanish explorers. They had survived many hardships, so they were very tired and very relieved to discover this refreshing, welcoming oasis in an arid land.


A small creek makes a big impression

After that first expedition came and went, life continued on, much as it had before. Eighteen long years passed. Then, in 1709, another Spanish expedition arrived, led by Captain Pedro de Aguirre.


A mission is born

In 1716, Captain Domingo Ramón was sent to visit the area and confirm the reports of the earlier expeditions. Based on what he saw, he recommended establishing a settlement here.


San Antonio’s first neighborhood

The springs provided abundant water, so those early settlers built their rustic houses, called jacales, nearby. These shelters were constructed of wood, mud, and straw—all materials that were right there for the taking. The settlers also turned their attention to growing crops.


The creek brings together the military and civilians

When the eminent Marqués de Aguayo paid a visit in early 1722, he found that the little settlement had been burned—most likely because of frequent raids by Apaches.


The Spanish Crown plants the seeds of the City

In 1729, King Phillip V of Spain made it possible for a group of Canary Islanders to come to the New World as civilian settlers. The journey took them two long, hard years. They arrived here on March 9, 1731.


Growth and progress

The three groups of residents—military, missionaries, and civilians—prospered and expanded.


Tragedy and destruction

Then 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 creek attempts a comeback

As time passed—and memories of the flood likely faded a bit—small amounts of civic and commercial activity in the areas along the creek began again. The local economy was primarily based on agriculture and trade.


The Texas Revolution reaches the creek

Like most of San Antonio de Béxar, the area around the creek was a scary and unsafe place to be during the Siege of Béxar and the subsequent Battle of the Alamo. Most of the residents became refugees and fled.


A new Republic is created

In December 1836, the Congress of the Republic of Texas created Bexar County. And in January 1837, Béxar (as San Antonio was called back then) was incorporated.


San Pedro Creek becomes a major player for entrepreneurs

San Antonio went through a substantial population increase in a single decade. In 1850, there were about 3,500 residents. In 1860, there were over 8,200.


Shopping, soldiers, and shipping around San Pedro Creek

Because of all the population growth, the City Council approved three new marketplaces where all the goods and needs of daily life could be bought and sold. Two of the three were near San Pedro Creek.


The land of cowboys and railroads

In the 1870s, when cattle drives originated in Texas and ended in Midwestern markets, San Pedro Creek became a major staging area. Cowboys wrangled the large herds into holding pens west of the creek, and much trading and shipment took place.

Early 1900s

Amid a changing city, the creek stays constant

In the last decades of the 19th century, Military Plaza (Plaza de Armas) began looking noticeably different. Small colonial and post-colonial structures were replaced by multi-story brick and stone buildings.


Little by little, the creek is forgotten

Throughout the 20th century, the city had made necessary progress, but San Pedro Creek paid a high price for it.

May 5, 2018

A new reason to flow

There is a new chapter and a new vision for this determined and persevering little creek of ours.

San Antonio history

A pilón—a little something extra— from San Pedro Creek’s history

You might expect a creek and area that has such a vibrant, memorable history would have sparked some equally intriguing myths and legends. And you’d be right.

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