For history buffs, San Antonio is a mecca. The early Payaya Indians first lived along the San Antonio River, calling the area "Yanaguana," which means "refreshing waters," or "clear waters." A band of Spanish explorers and missionaries came upon the river in 1691, and because it was the feast day of St. Anthony, they named the river "San Antonio." The actual founding of the city came in 1718 by Father Antonio Olivares, when he established Mission San Antonio de Valero, which became permanently etched in the annals of history in 1836 as The Alamo where 189 defenders held the old mission against some 4,000 Mexican troops for 13 days. The cry "Remember the Alamo" became the rallying point of the Texan revolution against Mexico. Located in the heart of downtown, today The Alamo is a shrine and museum. Now, San Antonio is the ninth-largest American city, urbane and cosmopolitan.
San Antonio Texas Timeline
On June 13, feast day of St. Anthony of Padua, San Antonio River discovered and named by the Spanish; governor of Spanish colonial province of Texas makes contact with Coahuiltecan Indians.
The San Antonio de Valero mission, of which the building known as the Alamo was the chapel, is founded in San Antonio.
San José y San Miguel de Aguayo mission is founded near San Antonio de Valero.
Three East Texas missions are moved to San Antonio because of economic troubles. Their new names are Nuestra Señora de la Purisima Concepción de Acuna, San Francisco de la Espada and San Juan Capistrano.
March 7, Fifty-five Canary Islanders arrive in San Antonio to establish a civilian settlement, San Fernando de Béxar.
The missions at San Antonio are producing several thousand pounds of cotton annually.
The missions are secularized by order of the Spanish crown.
Moses Austin petitions Spanish governor in San Antonio for permission to settle Americans in Texas.
Mexico wins independence from Spain.
Siege of Béxar: The first battle for Texas independence from Mexico takes place in San Antonio.
The Alamo falls after 13-day siege by Mexican general Santa Anna; using "Remember the Alamo" as a rallying cry, Sam Houston defeats Santa Anna at San Jacinto.
Republic of Texas is established.
A negotiation with Comanche chiefs in San Antonio results in the battle known as the "Council House Fight."
Texas annexed to the United States.
Texas secedes from the Union.
Fort Sam Houston established as new quartermaster depot.
The railroad arrives in San Antonio, precipitating new waves of immigration.
King William, first residential suburb, begins to be developed by German immigrants.
First issue of "San Antonio Evening Light" newspaper. San Antonio Exchange (first public telephone company) opened. A. B. Frank Company opened to deal in wood & hides. William Richter opened a bakery. San Antonio Electric Co. incorporated, furnishing electricity in 1882.
Main Avenue High School built.
Copper pennies introduced by Joske Bros.
City organized the Fire Department companies on a paid basis. First Battle of Flowers parade held.
Construction began on current Courthouse.
San Antonio Business Mens Club organized. In 1936 the name was changed to San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.
San Antonio Drug Co. started. Bexar Countys legal newspaper the "Commercial Recorder" began publication.
Our Lady of the Lake Academy (University) opens. Rough Riders encamped at Riverside Park. First building of St. Philips College built.
USAA founded in the Gunter Hotel. First radio station (WJAE) broadcast, but lasted only a few months. Second radio station (WCAR) broadcast from 324 N. Navarro St. Later renamed KTSA. WOAIs first broadcast (third radio station in San Antonio). Jewish Federation of San Antonio formed.
San Antonio opened the countrys first junior high schools. Travis Building and Robert E. Lee Hotel opened.
Conservation Society organized. Scottish Rite Temple dedicated. Mattie T. Landry organized the first Camp Fire Girls here.
Old City Market House torn down. Columns, etc. copied in cast stone and used for San Antonio Little Theatre. Olmos Dam completed. City Water Board formed. San Antonio Junior College organized.
Municipal Auditorium built as a memorial to the Citys World War I dead. Texas Cavaliers were formed. Aztec and Texas Theaters opened. Witte Memorial Museum opened to the public.
First talking picture, "Don Juan" with John Barrymore was shown at the Aztec. Plaza Hotel (now the Granada) opened. First neon signs appeared. Dr. C. A. Whittier opened the first Black diagnostic and in-patient medical center.
Works Project Administration builds River Walk, based on plans drawn up in 1929 by architect Robert H. H. Hugman.
First San Antonio Livestock Exposition held. Marion Koogler McNay Art Institute established.
Construction began on Trinity Universitys skyline campus.
City reorganizes under a council-manager form of government.
School of Aviation Medicine constructed at Brooks A.F.B.
Citys first mall-Wonderland (now Crossroads) Shopping City opened.
Riverwalk Commission established.
Tesoro Petroleum Corp. was chartered.
HemisFair exposition--River Walk extension, Convention Center, Mansión del Rio, and Hilton Palacio del Rio completed for the occasion, along with Tower of the Americas and other fair structures.
University of Texas at San Antonio was established.
University of Texas Health Science Center of San Antonio graduated its first class. First Queen of Soul, Libby Barksdale, in Battle of Flowers Parade.
River Corridor Committee established. Fifth Army Headquarters located at Fort Sam Houston.
San Antonio Spurs began their first season.
City charter was amended to allow single-member voting districts.
McAllister Freeway opened.
U. S. District Judge John H. Wood, Jr. was assassinated.
Site of the Palo Alto College campus was selected.
Record snow of nearly 13 inches. Fairmount Hotel moved.
San Antonio recorded its hottest day, 108 degrees.
Pope John Paul II visited San Antonio.
Sea World of Texas opened. Rivercenter Mall opens.
Premier of the newly refurbished Majestic Theatre.
Alamodome, huge new sports complex, completed.
Southbank and Presidio complexes open on the river.
Opening of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art, a three-story, $11 million addition to the San Antonio Museum of Art; reopening of the Empire Theatre.
San Antonio Spurs outgrow the Alamodome; funding approved for the new SBC Center.
Completion of Convention Center expansion; reopening of the Alameda Theater.