The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 376
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
deeper and wider channel alongside and on top of the old San Juan
Dam, burying most of its three hundred-foot length.
SARA officials and the Army Corps of Engineers had acted without
consulting the irrigators, who were still using the San Juan Acequia, or
the public agencies responsible for the preservation of historic struc-
tures. Although their corporate status as a ditch company had expired
in 1950, the former shareholders of the San Juan Ditch Company had
retained their rights as owners of the ditch in undivided interest.19
When they became aware of the adverse effects of the channel improve-
ment project, they joined to protest what they perceived as unilateral
and unlawful acts on the part of the San Antonio River Authority, the
local sponsor of the metropolitan flood control project. Among the
protesters were more than two dozen property owners, including
Archbishop Robert C. Lucey, representing the Archdiocese of San
Antonio, and the San Antonio Conservation Society (SACS). From the
start, the principal objection of the irrigators was that the river authori-
ty had cut off their access to gravity-flow water from the original chan-
nel. SARA's counter-proposal was to pump water from the relocated
river channel to the headgate of the acequia. To accomplish this pur-
pose, SARA engineers had designed and planned to install a low-fixed
dam in the new channel in order to pump river water two hundred feet
to the east.
Both the Archdiocese of San Antonio and the San Antonio Conser-
vation Society owned water rights on the San Juan Acequia. The arch-
diocese still owned some of the mission lands adjacent to the church
parishes, including approximately eight acres of irrigable labores at
Mission San Juan Capistrano. The SACS, on the other hand, was a
more recent landowner, having purchased twenty-five acres of frontage
on the San Juan Acequia from Emma Dillon for the purpose of pre-
serving what its members valued as an "ancient water system." Since
the mid-192os the society had begun an effort to reclaim the missions,
working toward the development of a park encompassing the four mis-
sions south of San Antonio. Starting with a purchase of a small parcel
of land surrounding Mission San Jos6 and its granary, SACS officials
organized fundraisers, signed for bank loans, and solicited gifts over
the next thirty years to acquire additional mission lands and properties
at Mission San Jos6, tracts of land near the aqueduct of Mission
Espada, and eventually the twenty-five acres of farmland and pecan
trees along the San Juan Acequia in 1957. This latter purchase was
undertaken specifically out of concern that the channel improvement
"9Pat H. Gardner to Mr. and Mrs. G. Garrett Lewis, et al., Mar. 8, 1967, San Juan Acequia fold-
er (San Antonio Conservation Society Library and Archives; cited hereafter as SACSLA).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/444/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.