Greater San Antonio by the numbers
Fun Facts about the Alamo City
- San Antonio is the seventh largest city in the United States.
- Bexar (pronounced Bear) County is the county seat of San Antonio.
- San Antonio is one of the most haunted places in the United States.
- The San Fernando Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in the state of Texas. Founded in 1731.
- Did you know that the famous sports drink, Gatorade was invented by a San Antonian? That’s right, Dr. James Robert Cade who was a professor of medicine and nephrology at the University of Florida had been doing research about how football players had lost so much fluids and not enough to produce urine. That is when he invented the drink with electrolytes which became Gatorade.
- The Alamodome was purposefully built and opened on May 15, 1993 in hopes of attracting an NFL team.
- Famous NBA basketball player Shaquille O’ Neal had started his basketball career in San Antonio when he attended Cole High School. They won the state championship in 1989.
- The famous snack chip Fritos were invented in San Antonio by Charles E. Doolin in 1932. C.E. Doolin was inspired by a recipe he purchased from Gustavo Olguin, a Mexican-American restaurant owner in San Antonio. His mother Daisy Doolin invented the Frito Pie in 1930’s.
- Those cowboy boots in front of North Star Mall holds the Guinness World Record for the World’s Tallest Cowboy Boots sculpture that were constructed in 1980. Standing at a whopping 35-feet tall and weighing over 10,000 pounds, these boots aren’t made for walking. They were created by Austin-born Bob “Daddy O” Wade.
- BiblioTech library is coined as the nation’s first digital library which opened up to the public on September 14, 2013. Membership to this all-digital library is free to Bexar county residents.
- President Lyndon B. Johnson married Lady Bird Johnson at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on November 17, 1934.
- The largest Mexican market outside of Mexico is the Historic Market Square downtown San Antonio. There are hundreds of small, locally owned shops inside that you can find pretty much almost anything there. There’s also a small food court. This place gets popping during Fiesta.
- It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it. When it’s Rodeo time, the same dirt that was purchased in Charlotte, TX, 45 minutes south of San Antonio in 1988 is used each and every year till this day. The dirt is stored in the back lot of the AT&T Center and is always cleaned and refined before it is reused again.
- July 2015 marks when the San Antonio Missions were marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the only site in Texas.
- A first of its time. The 21-floor Milam building downtown San Antonio was the first tall building in the United States to have air conditioning. It opened January 1928 and the air conditioning design was done by Willis H. Carrier of Carrier Engineering Corporation which is now United Technologies Corporation in July 1979.
- San Pedro Springs Park is the oldest park in Texas according to the Texas State Historical Association. The park is also known to locals as San Pedro Park and is one of the oldest municipal parks in the United States. It’s history goes back all the way till 1729. Oh yeah, and in 1910, the park was once home to the San Antonio Zoo before being moved to Brackenridge Park.
- San Antonio once had a working Sky Ride attraction at Brackenridge Park. It was constructed at a cost of $300,000 and took a few months to complete. On November 7th the attraction opened as it took riders in a gondola over the Japanese Tea Gardens giving a birds eye view of downtown San Antonio. In 1999, the Sky Ride had it’s last run bringing 35 years to an end because it was dilapidating. It would have cost millions of dollars to restore the ride to its safe operational condition. The city declined the expenditure and said that it didn’t benefit the educational purposes of the zoo.
- Church’s Chicken had its first store that opened in San Antonio in 1952 by owner George W. Church. That location was right across the street of the Alamo.
Standing Tall in San Antonio
Tallest freestanding structure in San Antonio, the Tower of the Americas stands at 622 feet. At the equivalent of a 60-story building this structure weighs 80 million pounds and it has 952 steps from bottom to top.
There are three elevators that carry 19,50 passengers per hour running at 800 feet-per-minute. It takes 43 seconds to get from the ground level to the top.
Most floors in the city
The tallest building in San Antonio is the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter on the River Walk. This building is 546 feet tall and was completed in 1988. San Antonio being a large spread and short skyline, this makes San Antonio's tallest building at 38 floors.
The San Antonio River Walk is water from the San Antonio River flowing through the heart of the city. This is the number one attraction that visitors see. Those who come to see San Antonio's treasure can eat, shop and drink. Yes, you can grab an alcoholic beverage and walk around the River Walk level. So go ahead and grab a margarita and enjoy it while exploring. If you're looking for a special place on the River Walk to say "I do", then you want to look into Marriage Island (located on the bank of the river near Hotel Contessa). You can find out more and make arrangements by calling the City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation at 210-207-7275.
La Antorcha de la Amistad | The Torch of Friendship
Standing 65 feet (20m) downtown San Antonio in the middle of a traffic circle, The La Antorcha de la Amistad or translated into english "The Torch of Friendship" was created and gifted by Mexican sculptor Sebastián. The gift was from the Mexican government to the City of San Antonio as a symbol of cooperation and shared culture between the counties and city.
The sculpture weighs over 45 tons (40,800kg). There are two posts that rise at non-parallel angles, however to the eye they appear to rise straight until each individual curl and twist before conjoining at the highest point of the sculpture.
These boots weren't made for walking
Inspired by roadside statues, Bob "Daddy-O" Wade had created these boots for Washington D.C. Then they were purchased by North Star Mall and brought back to San Antonio where Bob had re-erected them on January 16, 1980.
At 723 Brazos Street, you'll find the world's largest Virgin Mary Mosaic at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. This 40-ft structure was constructed in 2004 by artist Jesse Trevino. He made the art installation look like a candle. People from all-over the world come to look at this and take photos.