San Antonio in Bexar County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Commerce Street Bridge
Mayor John W. Smith employed R. T. Higginbotham to build a wooden bridge in 1842. The scene was painted by artist Herman Lungwitz in 1854. In the 1850s the bridge and river (then as now an asset to the city) were described by world travelers Frederick Olmsted and William Bollaert. It was a favorite spot of noted southern author Sidney Lanier while he lived here.
A sign in English, Spanish, and German recognizing the local ethnic population division was placed on the bridge in the 1870s. Law-abiding Teutons were told brusquely, "Schnelles Reiten Uber Dise Brucke Is Verboten". Mexicans however, were warned, "Anda despacio con su caballo, o teme la ley", while Anglo-Americans, unlikely to truckle to authority or fear the law, had their pocketbooks threatened: "Walk your horse over the bridge or you will be fined." Present bridge replaces an 1880 iron structure. Linking old and new, it spans 250 years of recorded history.
Erected 1971 by State Historical Survey Committee
Location. 29° 25.417′ N, 98° 29.267′ W. Marker is in San Antonio, Texas, in Bexar County. Marker is on East Commerce Street near Losoya Street. Touch for map. Marker is located on a stone at NE corner of bridge. Marker is in this post office area: San Antonio TX 78205, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Mr. & Mrs. Alfred Beyer (within shouting distance of this marker); Father of the River Walk (within shouting distance of this marker); The Torch of Friendship (within shouting distance of this marker); 141st Infantry Regiment (within shouting distance of this marker); 250th Anniversary of the Founding of San Antonio (within shouting distance of this marker); Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); St. Joseph's Church (about 400 feet away); The Acequias of San Antonio (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Antonio.
Regarding Commerce Street Bridge. Translation of German text on marker: "Quick riding on this bridge is prohibited"
Translation of Spanish text on marker: "Walk your horse slowly or fear the law"
Also see . . . Commerce Street Bridge and the San Antonio River (Submitted on May 18, 2010.)
1. Native American artwork near the Commerce Street Bridge
From the Historic Bridge Foundation: On the south side of the bridge is located a sculpture of an Indian brave created by noted Texas artist Waldine Tauch. Entitled "The First Inhabitant," the sculpture consists of a seven foot tall Native American in full, feathered headdress bordered by a background of corn. Carved onto each hand is a shallow Indian-patterned bowl, which once had drinking fountains concealed in each bowl. The sculpture was commissioned by the San Antonio Express, which offered Tauch $1,000 to complete the work.
— Submitted January 4, 2016, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico.
Categories. • Bridges & Viaducts •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 11, 2010, by R. C. of Shrewsbury, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,019 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 11, 2010, by R. C. of Shrewsbury, New Jersey. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.