Operated under the auspices of the City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department, the San Antonio Botanical Garden founded in 1980, encompasses 33 acres in the center of the city of San Antonio.
Prior to 1877, the eastern end of Mahncke Park was a limestone quarry and details of the quarry’s operations are unknown. In 1877, J. B. LaCoste and Associates contracted with the City of San Antonio to construct a water works system. LaCoste and Associates sold the water company to G. W. Brackenridge in 1883 who later became convinced that there was danger of complete failure of the San Antonio River as a water supply in the event of a long period of drought. By 1890, city residents became alarmed at the possibility that the river and the open reservoir would become contaminated. As a result, wells supplying pure artesian water began to be used to the exclusion of the surface water supply system and the reservoir was abandoned. In 1899, Brackenridge deeded the water works land and properties to the City.
Mrs. R. R. Witt and Mrs. Joseph Murphy conceived the idea of a Botanical Garden in San Antonio in the 1940’s. Together with their friends and associates, they organized the San Antonio Garden Center. Their first major effort was the development and presentation of a master plan for a public botanical garden in the late 1960’s. The recommended garden site became the former Brackenridge waterworks land which was being held by the city.
Funding for ground work began