Commerce Street Bridge
Commerce Street at the San Antonio River, San Antonio, Texas
at the historic main ford across the San Antonio River, the Commerce Street
Bridge was constructed in 1915 as part of a major street improvement program.
The bridge is noted for its many decorative details including noted Texas
artist Waldine Tauch's sculptured Indian drinking fountain.
The Commerce Street Bridge consists of a 3-span continuous concrete T-beam superstructure resting on square pier columns. On the north side of the bridge are two curving flight of stairs that link with the River Walk below. The bridge is noted for its many decorative details including open concrete molded railing and architectural treatments to the outside pier columns and projecting spandrel walls. On the south side of the bridge is located a sculpture of an Indian brave created by noted Texas artist Waldine Tauch. Entitled " The First Inhabitant," the sculpture consists of seven foot tall Native American in full, feathered headdress bordered by a background of corn. Carved onto each hand is a shallow Indian-patterned bowl, which once had drinking fountains concealed in each bowl. The sculpture was commissioned by the San Antonio Express, which offered Tauch $1,000 to complete the work. The bridge was most likely widened in 1929, and may have been subsequently widened again. Other alterations to the bridge may have occurred during the 1930s, with the creation of the San Antonio River Walk. In 1990, 20-foot section of railing on the south side of the structure was damaged when a car plunged into the San Antonio River. The Bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
© 2003 Historic Bridge Foundation. Photo by Lila Ethridge.