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  • Writer's pictureMichael T. Berger, MBA

Inside410 Historical Marker Love - Commerce Street Bridge

We are proud to bring you a new addition to our series of historical marker recognition of those locations deemed of historical significance deemed worthy of preservation by the Texas Historical Commission (THC). During this series, we will be focusing on those markers situated Inside410 as these locations and structures have shaped our unique history.

This time we are focusing on the Commerce Street Bridge. The plaque reads as follows:

"The main ford between San Fernando de Bexar (the city) and San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo), this river crossing has long been a focal point of history. At its footbridge on Feb. 23, 1836, Alamo emissary Albert Martin met to parley with Santa Anna's aide, Juan Almonte, during the Texas war for Independence.

Mayor John W. Smith employed R.T. Higginbotham to build a wooden bridge in 1842. The scene was painted by artist Herman Lungewitz 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 1870s. Law-abiding Teutons were told brusquely, "Schnelles Reiten Uber Dise Brucken is Verboten", Mexicans, however 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. (1971)"

These markers surround us because we live in a community steeped in history and culture. We are sometimes so inundated with what we have that we end up not taking a minute to enjoy the past that has so enriched our lives and gives our city such a unique and wonderful spirit.

I hope that you enjoy this series and if you have something Inside410 that is dear to your heart and want to see it highlighted here, simply drop me an email as I would love to hear your thoughts.

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