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Brackenridge Park Named State Antiquities Landmark

San Antonio has landed another important cultural designation. Brackenridge Park is the first site to be named as a State Antiquities Landmark.

City Archaeologist Kay Hindes says the designation was based on the park’s National Register of Historic Places nomination. The designation acknowledges numerous historic treasures in the park – including prehistoric projectile points such as one found in a dig along Mulberry Ave.

"It's very beautiful," Hindes says of the primitive tool. "It's very finely flaked and just really a beautiful point. It's very early, and we were actually able to get a radiocarbon date off of that because there was a small piece of animal bone with it."

Passengers on the miniature train passing nearby may not know they are riding through one of the most historic green spaces in the country.

“Paleo-Indian, [were] the earliest-known settlers here, prehistoric settlers," Hindes says.

Hindes says the park received the state designation as a result of a change at the Texas Historical Commission. The new designation reflects not only the park’s archaeological treasures, but also its standing structures. That includes the many historic pavilions throughout the park, bridges, the donkey barn, the tea gardens, and the colonial acequias recently uncovered by a UTSA excavation. Hindes says the early acequia dates to 1719.

“The Spanish, who needed acequias to water their fields, actually came to basically the headwaters area. And when they moved Mission San Antonio de Valero from its first location, they then began construction of the Acequia Madre or the Alamo Acequia,” Hindes points out.

The 344-acre Brackenridge Park is one of the five largest State Antiquities designations in the state, and Hindes says it is the largest municipal landmark to receive the designation.

Thousands of people visit the park each year, they feed bread to the ducks, celebrate birthdays in its pavilions, some even camp out at Easter. Hindes says the city can expect visitors to the area to increase as a result of the new honor. Some of those new visitors may even take a ride on the park’s famous train. 

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.