Sunday, September 2, 2012

Photo-of-the-Week #70 - A Riverboat on the San Antonio River, San Antonio, Texas - Sept. 2003

This is a photo of one of the Riverboats that takes tourists on a pleasant, leisurely trip on parts of the San Antonio River that flows through San Antonio, Texas. This shot was taken on the famous tourist attraction, the River Walk in downtown San Antonio.

The River Walk is actually a loop off the main river that, at one time, served businesses and warehouses along its banks. Over the past 45 years or so this area has been transformed into one of the main tourists attractions of the city. The warehouses and such have been converted into restaurants, nightclubs and various kinds of boutiques. Above them is an array of hotels and other tourist attractions that serve the San Antonio Convention Center, some remnants of the San Antonio World’s Fair, known as HemisFair ’68, remain. The original site was nearly 100 acres. Today the convention center occupies 30 acres and there is a beautiful 15-acre park known as HemisFair Park. Most of the fair structures have been removed, however, the 750’ Tower of America and its revolving restaurant at the top, the Texas Pavilion, now the Institute of Texan Cultures, the United States Pavilion, now a U.S. District Court and the Mexico Pavilion, now the Mexican Cultural Institute, remain.

I arrived in August of 1969 in San Antonio for my U.S. Air Force basic training at Lackland Air Force Base. The HemisFair had just closed. Once basic training was complete, I spent some time at the few remaining pavilions still open and at the River Roost, a popular restaurant and nightspot on the River Walk. The River Walk was still under its transformation at that time and there were sections of it that were not safe to walk at night. Having the opportunity to revisit the River Walk in the early 1990’s, then in 2003 and again around 2006, the transformation is complete and it’s a beautiful inner city tourist area with the Alamo, HemisFair Park and the convention center very conveniently located.  

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