Secrets of the San Antonio River Walk: Rosita’s Bridge

By  | 
Tony Maples Photography


The San Antonio River Walk is an iconic feature that draws millions of tourists each year. The winding waterway, majestic trees, and flanking beautiful architecture make this attraction unique. Even the practical elements hold significance, such as the bridges spanning the river. Of these, one bridge is named Rosita’s Bridge, in honor of Rosita Fernandez. Fernandez received the title of San Antonio’s First Lady of Song from Lady Bird Johnson, and the bridge was named after Rosita in 1992, the same year she appeared for her 26th and final year at the Fiesta Noche del Rio event.

Secrets of the San Antonio River Walk: Rosita's Bridge

Photo: Facebook/Becky Beltz

Fernandez was born in Monterrey, Mexico, in 1918 and moved with her family to San Antonio in her adolescence. Her professional career touched radio, television, and movies. The year 1933 began her radio career when she was selected for WOAI radio’s Gebhart’s Chili Show, one of America’s first commercial radio programs. Television time came on October 6, 1946, when Fernández appeared in the first television program ever transmitted by WOAI-TV. One of her notable films is “The Alamo” with John Wayne, Richard Boone, and Frankie Avalon.

In her lifetime, Fernandez also sang for two popes, five U.S. presidents, two Mexican presidents, the President of Pakistan, Prince Charles, and King Juan Carlos of Spain. She was also inducted into the Tejano Music Hall of Fame and the San Antonio Music Hall of Fame. After an illustrious career, beloved Rosita Fernandez passed away in 2006 at the age of 88.

Secrets of the San Antonio River Walk: Rosita's Bridge

Photo: Facebook/Rosita Fernandez “San Antonio’s First Lady of Song”

Rosita’s Bridge, as well as other well-known aspects of the River Walk, were designed by San Antonio-native Robert Hugman. A children’s book entitled “Rosita’s Bridge,” written by Mary McMillan Fisher and illustrated by Barbara M. Whitehead, tells true stories of Rosita Fernandez through the eyes of her real-life granddaughter Carla Maria. Make it a point to visit this footbridge to snap a picture of the plaque and maybe even catch a show!