San Antonio Parks: Olmos Basin Park

It’s weird. I’ve been to Brackenridge a bunch of times. I’ve been to the Botanical Garden a bunch of times. I’ve been to the University of the Incarnate Word a bunch of times. I’ve been to the HEB Central Market a bunch of times. I’ve been to the Quarry Market a bunch of times. I’ve driven on Hildebrand, and on US 281, on Basse and on Jones Maltsberger.

These things pretty much define the outside boundaries of Olmos Basin Park, and yet until this month, I’d never actually been there. And that’s really a shame, because it’s a lovely park. At least, what I’ve seen of it after a cursory walk on the Olmos Basin Greenway is.

US 281 Viaduct, 2019
The viaduct carrying US 281 past/through Olmos Basin Park. You can see a bit of Olmos Creek there but I walked up really close to take this picture so that not too much litter and/or mud would be in the picture.

One of the most important features of Olmos Basin Park is Olmos Dam. As San Antonio is sitting on top of limestone, we have a big flash flooding problem. I’ve considered doing a photo spread on the dry creekbeds of San Antonio. Because boy, there are a lot of them unless it’s raining then all bets are off.

There was a major flood in 1921 that killed 51 people and caused $5 million in damage (not adjusted for inflation!). As a result, the city dammed up Olmos Creek to prevent that from happening again.

I didn’t walk through the park far enough to get to the dam this time. I wonder what it would take.

Oh, as an aside, I finally realized whose name Robert H.H. Hugman, father of the River Walk reminds me of. Henry Hobson Richardson creator of the “Richardsonian Romanesque” architecture style. Further, the first time I saw the Daniel J. Sullivan Carriage House at the Botanic Garden (which was designed by Albert Giles) it kind of reminded me of Richardson’s work. And as it turns out, the Botanic Garden agrees with me. From their website: this superb example of the round-arched Richardsonian Romanesque style.

Today’s Gratuitous Amazon Link. Let’s see. I looked to see if by some miracle someone had written a book on Olmos Basin, but all I found were pictures of people golfing. So I guess back to just “parks” today. Big Creek: A Closer Look at a National Park, by Dinata Misovec.

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