Located below the headwaters of the San Antonio River, this was the site of a rock quarry in the nineteenth-century that produced limestone to manufacture Portland cement, a reservoir, and waterworks with pumping stations. In 1899, after the water table dropped and the waterworks system began to dry up, banker and businessman George Washington Brackenridge donated 199 acres of land to service as a public park named after him. City parks commissioner Ludwig Mahncke soon began to improve the land by developing a seven-mile curving drive through the park, a fenced deer preserve, and enclosures for elk and buffalo. The land was conveniently adjacent to the River Avenue Street railway (now Broadway Boulevard), which ran from downtown to the northern suburb of Alamo Heights. City dwellers had easy access to the park grounds and reservoir. By the 1920s, gifts from Brackenridge; Emma Koehler, whose family owned Pearl Brewery; and Bexar County increased the size of the park to 344 acres.
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