Water and Structural Inequities in the Westside: Remembering the Flood of 1921

Water and Structural Inequities in the Westside

Remembering the Flood of 1921

Lindsey Wieck and Victoria Villaseñor

On September 9, 1921, a series of heavy rainstorms moved across south Texas which grew intense in the late hours of the night. The torrential wind and rains overwhelmed San Antonio’s weak Olmos and San Pedro tributaries which burst and buried downtown, North, and Westside districts of San Antonio. The flood resulted in at least $3 million in damages, destroying the city’s electricity, communication, and infrastructure, leaving citizens scrambling for resources. This year marks the centennial anniversary of this devastating natural disasters, one of the worst in Bexar County’s history. For the past year, Dr. Lindsey Wieck and Victoria Villaseñor have been researching the history of water and infrastructural development in San Antonio in response to the events of 1921. Throughout their work, they have found that while the downtown business and northern districts received most of the news coverage and infrastructural development in the aftermath of the flood, it was the Westside experienced the greatest devastation yet received little help from the city government. The floods ravaged through an already structurally unsound and neighborhood, which magnified the poor, unsanitary conditions, and inhibited the Westside from fully recovering before the next flood.  Through firsthand accounts, environmental data, historical narrative, this project walks audiences through the inequities of the Westside and the tragedies that unfolded as a result during the flood of 1921.

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