Thursday, August 27, 2015
The 12.9-acre Roosevelt Park was established in the early 1900s along the San Antonio River at the site of an old gravel pit once owned by Bexar County and later given to the City of San Antonio. The park was developed by the city to serve the surrounding residential neighborhoods. In 1920, it was named Roosevelt Park in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt and his Rough Riders (volunteer cavalry recruited to fight in the Spanish-American War) were thought to have conducted drills and trained on horses at the site in 1898 before leaving for Florida and later Cuba. The park was soon renamed Lambert Park to honor the city's much-admired Parks Commissioner, Ray Lambert. The name Roosevelt was then given to the nearby old Riverside Park, which had been purchased by the city from private owners (Harris et al 2011; Graves 2009).
The main part of the park was accessed from Roosevelt Avenue by way of a paved road which meandered through the park and ended on the west side at a bridge that crossed the San Antonio River. By the 1920s, tennis courts, picnic tables, and a swimming pool where swimming lessons were offered during the summer had been constructed. At the urging of a group called the Southside Improvement League, swings and benches were later added to the park. In the mid 1940s, Lambert Park was again renamed Roosevelt Park, and the park and golf course to the south were once more called Riverside. Today the circa 1930 swimming pool, visitors’ center, and restrooms are still standing, although each has been altered in some way (Harris et al 2011).
For more information about the park see the San Antonio Parks and Recreation website for Roosevelt Park.
Harris, Brandy, Amy McWhorter, Kelley Russell, and Casey Hanson
2011 - Historic Resources Reconnaissance Survey Report, “Mission Trails” Enhancement Project, Package V Final Hike-and-Bike Trail Amenities, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas. TxDOT San Antonio District. Document No. 100231.PBS&J, Austin, Texas.
2009 - “Teddy Roosevelt’s Texas” in Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine. October 2009. http://www.tpwmagazine.com/archive/2009/oct/legend/ Accessed in March 2013.