Part 1 of Historic Tours: Salado Creek Greenway North has historic venues worth noting
The Mission Reach Riverwalk is known for its reach to historical venues—the San Antonio missions. It's not the only one that is rich in history.
Orange route depicts Salado Creek Greenway when completed—Graphics: SRR
Let's begin our journey at Holbrook Road, where Salado North ends at the present. Each landmark has a historical presence:
Eisenhauer Road: The trail passes under this road named after Paul Eisenhauer who arrived with his wife Anna from Germany in 1846.
Battle of Salado: The trail runs through the battleground of the Battle of Salado, fought in Sept. 1842. The Mexican Army and Cherokees captured San Antonio which in turn prompted a military response by the Republic of Texas, led by Matthew Caldwell. Nearby, Captain Nicholas Dawson and his 53 men were ambushed by the Mexican Army when attempting to join Caldwell. Marker on Holbrook Road commemorates the battle and two markers at Ira Lee and Austin Highway denote the ambush site.
Markers depict the area where Dawson and his men were captured by Mexican troops—Photo: SRR
Nacogdoches Road: The trail runs under Nacogdoches Road, the original route of the historic Camino Real that linked Mission San Antonio de Valero (Alamo) to the missions of East Texas.
McAllister Park: The trail has a spur that connects the dog park at McAllister Park, a 976-acre preserve, located north of the Wurzbach Parkway. The park opened on 13 Apr 1968; it was originally named Northeast Preserve. In 1974, it was renamed in honor of former San Antonio Mayor Walter W. McAllister.
Jones Maltsberger Road: The trail crosses this busy road on a traffic light-controlled crosswalk. The road is named after Amos Jones and Michael Maltsberger, originally from Alabama and Tennessee, respectively. Their families moved around several times before settling in San Antonio. Jones was a dairy farmer and Maltsberger was a rancher and farmer. Some of their offspring married into members of the Coker family (see Coker Cemetery, below).
Virgil Blossom Athletic Center: The trail continues past the Virgil Blossom Athletic Center on Jones Maltsberger. The center is a sports complex owned by the Northeast ISD. Blossom was known in the history books for his role as superintendent of Little Rock Public Schools where he drew up an integration plan in the wake of the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling. After he was fired by then-Governor Orville Faubus following the well-noted Little Rock Central High School crisis where nine African-American students enrolled, Blossom became superintendent of Northeast ISD, the first school district in the nation to be integrated on its first day of operation. The Wikipedia writeup is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgil_Blossom.
Coker Cemetery: The trail runs past the historic Coker Cemetery, located next to Coker United Methodist Church, named in honor of John Coker. He served in the Texas army where he destroyed a bridge that cut off Santa Anna's troops at San Jacinto. Members of the Coker, Jones, and Maltsberger families are interred in this cemetery. The cemetery's website is https://cokercemetery.com/.
Walker Ranch Historic Land Park: The trail runs through the park and has a trailhead. Located on West Avenue, the park is a part of an archaeologically significant site. A 1970s study conducted by UTSA's Center for Archaeological Research found that the area was inhabited by prehistoric peoples of 5000 years ago. By the 19th Century, it served as a supply post for the Alamo Mission. The park now features a new building that houses modern toilet facilities and an outdoor water fountain.
Prince Karl of Solms-Braunfels
—Painting: Schloss Braunfels
German settlers: Salado Creek runs through a section of San Antonio that was settled by Germans, known as Deutschtexaners, who arrived by way of New Braunfels during the 1840s. Many of the settlers came over with Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, Germany as part of the Adelsverein (noble club) as an attempt to establish colonies in the Republic of Texas using land grants. They wanted to provide a new home for a surplus of the German proletariat. The prince founded New Braunfels, naming the settlement after Braunfels, located in the German state of Hesse. The New Braunfels settlement is traced westward that covers the north-central sector of San Antonio and other Texas Hill Country towns such as Spring Branch, Pieper (later Bulverde), Anhalt, Bergheim, Boerne, and Fredericksburg.
Phil Hardberger Park: The trail runs through this park and connects a visitor's center with modern toilets—not the portable latrines that are prevalent at other trailheads. The park was originally named Voecker Park; however, the City Council voted 3 Dec 2009 to rename it as Phil Hardberger Park. The land was originally a dairy farm operated by Minnie and Max Voelcker; the property was purchased by the City of San Antonio in 2007.
Huebner Road: The trail goes under Huebner Road, named in honor of Joseph Huebner who immigrated with his wife Caroline and two children from Austria in 1853. They became successful ranchers on land that is now Shavano Park.
Dwight D. Eisenhower Park: Eventually, the trail ends at Eisenhower Park, named in honor of President Eisenhower. At this point, it meets the trailhead of Leon Creek Greenway which takes cyclists through the western section of the city to where it ends currently at W. Military Highway. The park features a massive 7-tier switchback that provides majestic views of the Texas Hill Country. Bring your camera—even better, mount your video camera. Have some fun.
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