San Antonio de Bexar: A Guide and History Page: 54
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SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR.
to its obligations. This suit was however very amicably settled in November
1874. The alleged contract being declared null and void.
This is the true story of how and why the City of San Antonio to-day does
not own the property commonly called "The Head of the River." And where, O
where are your twenty vara roads-good honest hearted Giraud?!
It has already been said what a lovely river the San Antonio is, what a source
of blessing it is, and how it meanders and winds up and down. "in and out and
around about" the City, that this is mentioned again must be excused for we have
acquired the San Antonian love for this dear stream, and we leave the sentiment
with regret to talk of iron pipes, contracts, engineers and incorporaters, and
suchlike soulless articles and beings.
The Water Works.
That our best water brought by conduits hither.
-Coriolanus, Act ii, Scene iii.
The first "Water Works" of San Antonio were of course the early irrigation
ditches, supplemented by shallow wells. The abundance of water, apparently
pure, but really impure by reason of generations of drainage over and through
accumulations of filth, was a stumbling block to the minds of the less
enlightened citizens. The constant preaching however of those who knew to
those who wished to know, at last made a system of Water Works possible in the
community. Very gradually the conversion went on, until to-day every citizen
of us is alive to the importance of the handy profusion of sweet pure water, and
keenly sensible of the tremendous growth year by year in monetary value of
"The Water Works" property. The water question was in constant agitation
from the date of the last visitation of cholera in 1866. Many suggestions and
offers were made and discussed, but the first really definite proposition was made
in May 1873, by Mr. Geo. M. Maverick, but it fell through. In April 1875 there
was a meeting to consider an offer made by "The National Water Works Company"
of New York. The offer was refused. The matter did not abate in interest, how-
ever, for on May 3d, 1875, a meeting was called, and held on the 6th at the
Menger Hotel, at which much was said in favor of a system of Water Works for
the City. It was hard Missionary work. September 3d a company was sug-
gested, in spite of apathy and indifference prevailing, of which Mr. H. B. Adams
was to be President and F. Giraud Secretary. The time, however, was not quite
ripe, and this company was never probably fully organized.
On April 3d, 1877, the City of San Antonio gave the original contract of the
San Antonio Water Works Company to J. B. Lacoste and associates, in which
the latter were to supply the City of San Antonio with water, using the Head of
the San Antonio River as a source of supply. The work was to be begun "six
months from the date of the arrival of the Railroad," and to be finished within
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Corner, William. San Antonio de Bexar: A Guide and History, book, 1890; San Antonio, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143549/m1/100/: accessed February 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.