…on a warm summer evening when we would be sitting on our front porch, we’d sometimes hear singing coming from a church camp meeting down on the river where Constance Street meets Crofton. This must have been back in the 30’s. These folks would drive their cars off the road by the Brooks house down a path to the river’s edge and set up their tents. Some would be in cars but some would be in wagons pulled by horses. They might be there for two or three days. When they had baptisms, there would be a lot of shouting and wailing.
…when the San Antonio River was just a narrow stream where it ran through the Arsenal area. It was overgrown with trees and bushes and was a permanent home to lots of “campers.”
…when the river was my playground as I was growing up. The neighborhood kids would spend hours and hours playing and exploring along the banks of our river. Back then, it was a winding, natural wooded area, not the straightened cemented channel you see today. All the flood control work started in the late 1960’s. The original river circled behind the Guenther Mill where a dam formed a deep pool for the old water wheel. We’d go back there for the best fishing.
…when Bobbie Masoro fished the half-drowned dog out of the river behind her house at 221 E. Guenther. Unfortunately, that dog had serious behavioral problems, probably from being abused. Even after many sessions with a trainer, she was never socialized, but Ed and Bobbie were crazy about her and showered her with love and affection until the day she died. Her name was “Beauty” – a definite misnomer.
…before the 1960’s when you could drive across theriver at Johnson Street on a vehicular bridge. After the river realignment was completed, there was no bridge at all, just a dead-end street. It was another sixteen years, in the mid 1980’s before the pedestrian bridge that you see today was installed. It’s often referred to as the O. Henry Bridge as the spires of the bridge once stood on the old Commerce Street Bridge which inspired O. Henry’s short story, "A Fog in Santone."
…when my husband, Humberto and I moved into our house on Washington Street in 1963, our dead-end of the street was just a dusty road – muddy when it rained. No curbing, and from the road, it sloped down to a primitive, meandering river. The area between the house and the river was an overgrown tangle of trees and vines. I was determined to clear that jungle and after a lot of work and several attacks of poison ivy, I finally had a beautiful picnic area and with the addition of tables and benches, it became a favorite spot for family cook-outs. Church and school groups and neighbors often had their parties on the grass under those huge pecan trees.