Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Donkey Barn

This unusual building is about to undergo renovation and I do plan on posting updates as it progresses.  Located in Brackenridge Park this building was originally one story and was believed to have been the location of the barn built to house the hay and, possibly, donkeys used on the Donkey Trail in the park. 

In 1916 the San Antonio Rotary Club gave 12 burros to the children of San Antonio.  They were tended by a one-legged man known only as "Peg".  The San Antonio Light ( April 8, 1917) states that all the kids just loved Peg.  The donkeys were originally kept in corrals built next to the river, but in 1920 Ray Lambert, the Commissioner of Parks and Sanitation credited with much of the development of the park, took bids to construct a barn near the corrals. 

It is not clear if the building actually was used to house the donkeys or just hay for them and the nearby zoo.  In the 1920's children enjoyed the simple pleasure of a ride on the trail through the park on the back of a donkey; what a wonderful, simple time! The rides ended during the 1940's as a result of World War II.

The second story and the Alamo-style parapet were added in 1956 when the building was converted to offices for the Department of Parks and Recreation. The visible line above the door denotes the addition.  I can only assume that the window motif (in the style of the Rose Window at Mission San Jose) and the buttress like towers were added at that time.

The current renovation will replace the roof, convert the interior into office/educational space, and make the building handicap accessible.  Upgrades to electrical systems are also included.  The cost is estimated at $500,000.


  1. I love this building! As many times as I was in Brackenridge, I don't recall ever seeing this. Your postings make me want to go spend a few days there now!

  2. I was at Brackenridge Park about 2 weeks ago looking at the Faux Bois Footbridge when this building caught my eye - its gorgeous. Thanks for the info/history.