I took part in the King Willliam/Lavaca 5K History Run back in May and was embarrassed at my lack of ability to keep up with the runners. It has clearly been years since my days of running track in high school!! I wish I would have known there were multiple groups on this “run.” I would have taken the “moms with strollers” walk!
San Antonio’s Office of Historic Preservation is doing a great job of engaging the public and creating fun events to learn about this city’s history.
This is a nice write-up of the event by John Tedesco with the Express-News.
There are many ways to learn about a city and its history — but not many involve putting on a jogging outfit and trying to keep up with Amy Unger.
On Saturday, about 45 people showed up for a three-mile run through the East Side near downtown, which offered a unique perspective of a struggling neighborhood that many people simply glimpse at on their way to Spurs games.
“I’ve lived in San Antonio my entire life and really don’t know anything about the neighborhood,” said jogger Sarah Deosdade.
Unger and her other fit colleagues at the city’s Office of Historic Preservation have been leading runners on tours through historic parts of San Antonio. They started the free program in May, Historic Preservation Month.
District 2 Councilwoman Ivy Taylor invited the city’s history experts to explore the East Side, home of the grand houses of Dignowity Hill and the recently restored Hays Street Bridge.
Participants gathered at the Carver Community Cultural Center and had the option of tagging along with Unger or two other guides. Some joggers who showed up looked like triathletes, but the program is for everyone — the slowest group walked and a few people pushed children in strollers.
The three groups set out at 7:30 a.m. and stopped periodically to hear a brief history lesson, like the one on Dignowity Hill. Unger pointed out a tall, well-kept house.
“Edward Friedrich — we saw his massive air conditioning company — he lived in this house here, this yellow house, which is a really excellent example of the Queen Anne style,” she said.
One theme of the tour was the impact of freeways built in the 1960s that segmented downtown and cut off neighborhoods.
“Large freeways were driven through the heart of many of our cities,” Unger said, speaking above the soft roar of traffic on nearby U.S. 281. “It cut off a lot of neighborhoods from downtown, and that’s when you saw a lot of the urban decay that kind of peaked in the 1980s.”
When three noisy tour buses interrupted her talk during another part of the jog, Unger laughed and pointed out how much more people can learn about a community just by being outside.
“Wouldn’t you much rather be out on the ground, getting a workout?” she asked. “You get to see so much more.”