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Walker Ranch Park

What is now known as Walker Ranch Historic Landmark Park is part of a larger archaeologically significant site. The area near the confluence of Panther Springs Creek and Salado Creek represents a favored campsite revisited over thousands of years by hunting and gathering peoples apparently attracted by the availability of crucial resources such as water, plants, animals and lithic or stone materials.
 
Investigations done in the 1970s by the Center for Archaeological Research at the University of Texas at San Antonio show that the area served many functions for these prehistoric peoples including: a flint knapping station, a tool refitting station, a butchering station, a plant processing station, a hunting camp, a gathering camp, and possibly a social gathering locality. These investigations found well-preserved cultural materials including stone, ceramic and bone artifacts as well as plant remains to support the archaeologists' conclusions. Archaeologists believe that the combination of a nearby water source and a clay-based soil that lent itself to sue for ceramics made the site suitable for occupation over extended periods of history. A report filed in 1985 indicated that the biggest challenge in interpreting the site was that the activities were repeated countless times in an area that had very slow sediment accumulation. This made deciphering the remains difficult, if not impossible.
 
During the Spanish Colonial period, historians believe the area was probably occupied by Spanish soldiers and settlers. There is considerable archival evidence that the land where the park is now located was within the boundaries of the Monte Galvan, which was a supply ranch for Mission San Antonio de Valero, later known as the Alamo.
 
During the 19th century, the land continued to be used as farm and ranch lands on the northern reaches of the City of San Antonio. The area in and around the park became known as Walker Ranch when it was owned by Ganahl Walker, Sr., beginning in 1905, and later by his son, who operated it as a ranch until 1972. Much of the property was then sold to a Dallas developer. Walker Ranch was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1975, and in 1995, it was listed as one of the most endangered historic places in the state.
 
In 1997, Bexar County agreed to transfer 30 acres to the City of San Antonio, adjacent to 10 acres of city-owned property. The San Antonio River Authority donated another four acres. The park was dedicated with a grand opening ceremony on Saturday, May 15, 1999. The initial development, funded with $400,000 in Park Bond funds, included site grading, demolition of existing site structures including building foundations, walks, asphalt drives, storage tanks and swimming pool walls. Construction consisted of park entry drives, parking, a half mile of exercise trail, playground area walks and curbs, toilet facilities, a drinking fountain, lighting, information stations, and a pavilion with eight picnic tables.
 
Private sector donations added to the facilities in the park. The San Antonio Chapter, Associated General Contractors of America, with the involvement of its members, contributed materials and labor to construct the pavilion. The pavilion's trusses, which were constructed around the turn-of-the-century in Birmingham, Alabama, and later used in several buildings in San Antonio, were donated by M&M Construction. The San Antonio Parks Foundation facilitated a monetary donation of $60,000 from the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation in 1999 that allowed for the addition of a new playground at the park. Churchill High School student volunteers assembled and installed the playground.
 
Also in 1999, the Parks Foundation facilitated the monetary gift of $217,000 from Ultramar Diamond Shamrock for the purchase of 33.4 acres of land acquisition along the Salado Creek abutting the park to provide linkage to future greenway trails.
 
In 2000, the foundation made a $100,000 donation for the construction of an outdoor teaching facility in the park and in 2002 the foundation facilitated a $7,000 gift from the San Antonio Area Foundation for the park's Landmark Windmill.