Japanese Tea Garden, San Antonio
Developed on a land donated to the city in 1899 by George Washington Brackenridge, President of San Antonio Water Works Company.
Vision and creativity changed an abandoned rock quarry into this place of beauty. Love made it home, sustained it and preserved it.
For many decades prior to the early 1900's, this quarry supplied limestone to the Alamo cement company. Park commissioner, Ray Lambert visualized reclaiming the site as a Japanese-style garden and invited a newly arrived Japanese artist, K. E. Jingu, to do so. Mr Jingu and other Japanese designers, using the quarrys natural rocks, built bridges, walkways and lilly ponds which are still here today.
Mr Hugo Gerherdt served as head gardner and caretaker for 25 years.
In 1915 the city asked Mr Jingu, the Japan to Seattle to Texas immigrant, and his wife Miyoshi, to make their home here. They lived in a rock house still standing today. For 25 years they did so while rearing their 8 children: Mary, Ruth, Rae, Helen, Mable, Lilian, James and Kimi. They managed a tea house at the gardens and they hoseted increasing numbers of visitors and tourists.
Father Jingu died in 1938, but the family carried on. World war II with its anti- Japanese emotions fell heavily on the jingu family. They were evicted from their home and the facility was renamed "Chinese Sunken Garden". James and Kimi went on to army service. James Earned the purple heart while serving with the 442nd infantry division in Europe.
After the war, the Jingu family gradually moved to Califonia.
In july 1983, the city council restored the original name, "Japanese Tea Garden", thereby gratefully acknowledging the Jingu family's contributions and demostrating the city's close ties with the nation and people of Japan.
Rededicated October, 1984