Sunday, January 25

Geary and I spent most of the day working on some 'Puter stuff. Cleaning up drives, backing up, transferring files and tweaking the home network.

At my insistence we finally got out the door around 2:30 - theoretically to go somewhere for a walk/hike.
We didn't do either, but we saw a lot of cool stuff on the whirlwind tour of South'Tonio and the downtown area.


Click on these photos for a higher resolution.
Will be slow with dial-up connection.


Sue was kind enough to fix me a bean and cheese burrito for breakfast.
When in Rome...


Aspen was on a baking binge and made a cake and some cup cakes.

Sue joked: "We knew you were coming so we baked a cake!".
I told them it was good timing as I had just turned 36. Ha!


Geary had wanted to take me to a spring at a local park. This took us to the South Side which is mainly Hispanic. I asked Geary to pull off so I could check out the La Michoacana Meat Market a Hispanic grocery store. I wanted to continue my on going quest for Orejas and Guacamaya Hot Sauce.

La Michoacana Meat Market™ was founded in February of 1986 in the city of Houston, TX. This chain of Hispanic supermarkets was founded by a Mexican family with the idea of a Mexican company to serve all Hispanics. La Michoacana Meat Market™has grown rapidly throughout the years. It holds a concept of a medium size supermarket with a variety of fresh products and other items which fulfill the basic needs of most Hispanic families.

Source: La Michoacana Meat Market


This spice and herb rack was jammed full of all kinds of goodies.


This is the spring head at San Pedro Springs Park.

The San Pedro Springs are located a few miles northwest of downtown San Antonio and the Alamo. They emerge at an elevation of about 663' through a fault at the base of a limestone bluff. At the surface the Austin chalk limestone is present on the southeast side of the fault and the Pecan Gap chalk on the northwest (Brune, 1981).

Source: Edwards Aquifer Authority

Geary is the Chief Technical Officer for the Edwards Aquifer Authority whose mission is to: "...manage, conserve, preserve, and protect the aquifer and works to increase recharge and prevent waste or pollution of the aquifer".


San Pedro Park is San Antonio's oldest park and the second oldest park in the United States behind Boston Common.

San Pedro Springs Park—San Antonio’s oldest designated park— is located on land reserved for public use by the Spanish government in the 18th century. Only one public park in America is older— Boston Common, which dates to 1630.

People have gathered around the springs and creek that originate here for some 12,000 years. Hunter-gatherers found water, food, and rock to fashion weapons, and Spanish explorers first established their camps here in the late 17th century. In 1709, Fathers Antonio de San Buenaventura de Olivares and Isidro Felix de Espinosa named the waters "San Pedro springs." Historians agree that San Antonio’s earliest permanent settlement, a presidio and mission, were founded in 1718 near San Pedro springs, though its exact location is unproven. When the settlement was moved farther south in the 1720s, the springs continued to provide water to the new community. In 1731-34, the Spanish constructed an acequia to carry water to town for irrigation and household use.

The springs, surrounded by spreading trees, were a virtual oasis for residents and a popular recreational destination. In 1852, the City Council officially established a reserve around the springs and then leased the area to John Jacob Duerler who built pavilions where visitors enjoyed food, drink and entertainment. In 1856, the United States Army, experimenting with the use of camels, temporarily stabled the animals in San Pedro Springs Park. Sam Houston spoke to a political rally here in 1860, and during the Civil War, prisoners were held in the park.

Source: City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation


These ferns - Southern Maidenhair (Adiantum capillus-veneris) were growing out of the cracks in the limestone at the spring head.


This wading pool is flanked by Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) trees which may be around 100 years old. That is just a guess.


These beautiful old trees reminded me of some of the giant Bald Cypress I had seen in Mexico in April 2008.


This Cycad was in fruit and made for an interesting photograph.
Most cycads superficially resemble ferns, but they differ in that they develop distinctive male and female cones.




The chilly, misty and foggy day did not keep these folks from having a cook-out.


In the 1880s this star shaped structure in the Park had a spring-fed fountainhead at its center.


I had hopped on this monument to get better elevation when shooting the stone star. Geary snapped this shot.

The monument recounted how the The Old San Antonio Road (sometimes called El Camino Real or King's Highway) came this way. It was a primary route between northern Mexico and what is now the southwest United States, for more than 300 years.


I tried to find a web reference to this bridge, but had no luck.


After we left the Park Geary continued with my tour. He passed by an old apartment house and I asked him stop so I could take a better look.
This is the front entrance of the Aurora Apartments at 509 Howard St between West Cypress and West Laurel Streets. It is about 10 blocks from San Pedro Springs Park


Balconies over the front entrance - eight high.


As seen across the street from Crockett Park.

"The Aurora was built in 1929. Formally a hotel in the 1980s, it became a senior community. The apartment community has a social service director to see to tenant needs. Bingo played every Wednesday in the Sun Room."
Source: (inactive page)

Nostalgic purchase
Mitch Meyer may be just what the Aurora Apartments needs.

After years of neglect and out-of-town ownership, the San Antonio developer has purchased the historic 105-room apartment complex at Cypress and Howard streets.

"I really feel lucky to have gotten this building," Meyer said. "I've just admired it forever."

Completed in 1930, the Aurora used to be San Antonio's premier hotel, where guests enjoyed rooftop views and Gothic architecture. That aura eventually faded, which led to the hotel's demise.

It's now an affordable housing unit through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where it serves a purpose, but not the purpose it was built to have.

Eventually, Meyer sees the Tobin Hill, Pearl Brewery and River North neighborhoods all becoming one large urban area, with his Aurora a key part of that small community created by people who want to live in an urban environment and not miles away from town.

Source: Portions © 2009 San Antonio Express-News


The Aurora is currently for sale.


This fabulous old house is right next to the Aurora. It is the law office of Wigington Rumley at 601 Howard Street.




Geary and I then drove over to Brackenridge Park, about two and a half miles away.

Located just below the headwaters of the San Antonio River, Brackenridge Park and the surrounding area has been a gathering place since prehistoric times. There is evidence of human visitation and occupation extending back at least 11,000 years. Native American artifacts dating as early as 9200 B.C. have been found in the Olmos Basin and near Hildebrand Avenue.

Following the founding of San Antonio in 1718, early Spanish settlers used the San Antonio River as a source of water for hand-dug ditches that irrigated their fields. Two of these ditches—acequias- branched from the river in today’s park. The Alamo Madre ditch was built in the 1720s and ran east, carrying water to Mission San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo). This ditch left the river opposite the back to the Witte Museum. The Upper Labor ditch was built about 1776 and watered land west to San Pedro Creek. The dam that diverted water into the ditch was excavated in 1996 just below Hildebrand Avenue. Remnants of the Upper Labor acequia remain visible within the boundaries of the San Antonio Zoo.

Source: City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation


Little did we know what was going on in the Park that day - a gathering of GearHeads!!


These 2-seat, 3-wheeled motorcycles are created by Canadian auto/bike builder Campagna Corporation located in Quebec. They have two models, the T-Rex and the V13R. Prices range from 18 to 40 k and beyond.
What a great investment...


Wheel detail on one of the T-Rex.


It's Chucky!!


What some people won't do to stand out in a crowd!!


The Pavillion was packed with people picnicking.


This iron bridge, was built by the Berlin Iron Bridge Co. of East Berlin, Connecticut in 1890 and has been nicely restored and maintained.


We left the crowds after about a half hour or so of gawking. Leaving the park we crossed this bridge. We could not stop so I grabbed a quick shot out the window of this wild looking bridge walkway. It is a cement sculpture by Dionicio Rodriguez.

... The bridge is made of cement which has been sculpted to look like rough-hewn logs. Thirty-three sculpted vertical tree trunks support cross beams in the shape of tree branches. These cross beams go both the length and width of the bridge. Seven large cement tree trunks support the structure as it extends over the river. The bridge is connected to the road on the south side. The bottom of the walkway looks like half-cut logs. The cement has been painted or stained.

Source: Smithsonian Institution


Remember this cute cake baker? After my crack about my 36th birthday she and her mom conspired to make sure I would not forget my off hand comment.
Thanks, ladies!! How sweet!!


Day 2 - FINIS


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