Rio - River House
Over the centuries, all who found their way to this area have been
blessed by the river and the abundance of life that its water has
provided. For the native American hunters and gatherers, the numerous
deer, bear, mountain lions, alligators, raccoons, squirrels, cats,
coyote and javelinas provided ample meat along with fish and water
The Spaniards, exploring their way north out of Mexico through deserts
and semi-arid South Texas, found the timber, fertile soil, and clear
water well suited for their purposes of settlement and colonization.
The river, first named St. Anthony de Padua, was soon diverted into
channels and acequias for irrigation of fields and household use.
The first bridge built to span the river was here at Commerce Street.
The priests at the Alamo were afraid the easy access by the soldiers
from the garrison would endanger the women of the mission. The bugle
call of "El Deguello", from Santa Anna's army came from these banks.
It signaled, no quarters, utter destruction, and no mercy for the
defenders of the Alamo.
As the mission period gave way to a more established society, the
river was used for numerous bath houses natatoriums, breweries,
and mills. San Antonio began a romance with the river with festivals,
fairs, parties and picnics on the banks.
The restaurant founded in 1946 by Alfred F. Beyer, sits on land
first granted title in 1777 by the King of Spain. The Spanish Colonial
period hacienda became the core of the new business. The cedar door
and window lintels, the fireplace, and thick rock walls, are still
evident inside the building.
Casa Rio was the first San Antonio business to open its doors to
the River and take advantage of the River's setting. Canoes, gondolas,
and paddle boats, evolving into tour and dinner boats, began here
and helped create the Riverwalk of today.