March 30, 2018 Slideshows » Arts

30 Vintage Photos of San Antonio's Beautiful Parks 

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Check out these vintage photos – some of which were taken before your grandparents were even born – and try having a scavenger hunt to find out which structures are still standing!
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Japanese Tea Gardens in Brackenridge Park, 1929
Even though a lot has changed over the decades, you can still see echoes of what the Japanese Tea Gardens used to look like.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
Louis C. Melas and friends picnicking in Koehler Park, circa 1910
We wish we were as dashing as Louis C. Melas and his friends, pictured here.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
Two women beside San Pedro Lake, circa 1900s
We're speechless.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
Girls posing beside an eagle statue, circa 1900
This eagle would be an awesome thing to try to find in a park. We can’t guarantee that it still exists, but we'll have some fun exploring.
Photo via John C. Kight Photograph Collection
Women feeding geese from a rowboat in San Pedro Park, circa 1900s
This looks like it could be a painting from the Impressionist era, but it happened in real life, here in San Antonio.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
Spillway from San Antonio River into Brackenridge Park, 1927
You might not be able to find this exact water feature, but the sights you see while exploring will definitely take your breath away.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
Iron bridge over San Antonio River in Brackenridge Park, 1927
For the record, you can still find this bridge.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
Joe Meyer and Edna Oppenheimer in a horse-drawn buggy in Brackenridge Park, 1904
While there is an equestrian trail in the Brackenridge Park cluster, these days you must have special permits to use a buggy or cart with your horse.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
A path through San Pedro Park, 1880s
If you look, you can still find paths like this today.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
San Pedro Park, circa 1902
It’s hard to believe we had parks like this even as early as 1902.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
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The Lone Star Garden in Brackenridge Park, circa 1927
A former rock quarry, the Lone Star Garden had flower beds in the shape of the Texas Star. On the right is where Civic Opera performances were held during the summer.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
Lover’s Lane in Brackenridge Park, circa 1927
Imagine taking your loved one on a date to the Japanese Tea Garden or the Zoo, and taking a stroll on this path between the two. Ro-man-tic!
Photo via General Photograph Collection
Automobile in San Antonio River in Roosevelt Park, circa 1927
In a time before cell phones, imagine coming home soaking wet to your spouse and having to explain that you drove the car into the river – but that’s not what happened at all. He’s actually washing it.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
Buggy Ride in Brackenridge Park, circa 1900
This person is just driving their buggy through the park. As one does. No biggie.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
Swimming pool in San Pedro Park, circa 1927
1927 was a big year for park photography in San Antonio.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
A pedestrian bridge made of honeycomb limestone over the San Antonio River in Brackenridge Park, circa 1927
The texture you see on the bridge isn’t just plantlife - it’s the actual stone it was constructed from.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
A swimming pool, a pedestrian suspension bridge, and Parker truss iron bridge in Brackenridge Park, 1927
You know that bridge in Indiana Jones? Kind of like that.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
Olmos Dam as seen from Olmos Park, circa 1929
This photo was taken only a few years after a flood in 1921 that killed more than four dozen residents, which was why the dam was built. Before there were efforts to control water flow in and around the city, San Antonio was subject to frequent flooding.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
African elephant from San Antonio Zoo on a driveway in Koehler Park, circa 1927
The late 1920s were evidently a hopping time for San Antonio!
Photo via General Photograph Collection
Pavilion of Japanese Tea Gardens, circa 1927
You can definitely still find this! It might not look exactly the same, but it's pretty darn similar.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
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A landscaped area of Brackenridge Park, circa 1927
Even people with cameras back then liked taking pictures of beautiful landscaping.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
Artesian well in San Antonio River in Brackenridge Park, circa 1927
This is no Blue Hole (especially considering that the photograph is in black and white), but it’s still beautiful.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
Polo players in Brackenridge Park, 1927
It might surprise you to find out that there is a in fact an equestrian trail at the Brackenridge Recreation Complex. It's unclear whether you can play polo there or not, though.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
Young women standing on a cedar bridge in Landa Park, New Braunfels, Texas, circa 1907
While maybe people today can’t imagine going to the park dressed like this, these outfits make for breathtaking historical photographs.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
Water parade in Landa Park, New Braunfels, Texas, circa 1920
Unfortunately, water parades don’t happen anymore, at least not in Landa Lake.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
Steamboat on Comal River in New Braunfels, Texas, circa 1900
You won’t be able to find any steamboats, either.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
Camp Placid in Landa Park, New Braunfels, Texas, circa 1920s
While Camp Placid was a popular site in the '20s, it has since been closed.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
A parade float in the Mayfest Celebration at Cedar Park in Fayette County, 1892
While Cedar Park might not host a Mayfest celebration anymore, you can still find them all over Texas.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
Open-air dancefloor in Landa Park, New Braunfels, Texas, 1925
Why dance open-air when historic Gruene Hall is right down the road? It must have been a lot of fun.
Photo via General Photograph Collectiont
Landa Park, New Braunfels, Texas, circa 1927
Even though New Braunfels is a daytrip for most San Antonio residents, hitting spots like Landa Park make the (beautiful, if you take FM 1863) drive worth it.
Photo via General Photograph Collection
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Japanese Tea Gardens in Brackenridge Park, 1929
Even though a lot has changed over the decades, you can still see echoes of what the Japanese Tea Gardens used to look like.
Photo via General Photograph Collection

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