SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — If you didn’t know, San Marcos kind of has a thing for mermaids, and now the city has officially been named the Mermaid Capital of Texas!
Gov. Greg Abbott signed SCR 9 on Monday, which gives the city its new designation through May 2031. It was adopted by the Texas Senate on April 19 and the Texas House on May 8 before Abbott signed.
State Sen. Judith Zaffirini and Rep. Erin Zwiener, who represent San Marcos, supported the resolution in the Texas Legislature to highlight the role San Marcos has in preserving water resources in the state.
They hope it encourages community interest in protecting the environment.
“We take a lot of pride in the San Marcos River, and we’re thankful to Sen. Zaffirini and Rep. Zwiener for recognizing that connection and bringing this resolution,” Mayor Pro Tem Melissa Derrick said in a press release. “It’s exciting to see this designation become official, and I can’t wait for all the ‘Mermania’ that will follow!”
The city has been connected with mermaids as far back as 1849, when Gen. Edward Burleson built the dam that made Spring Lake to power a mill. In 1920 A.B. Rogers bought the Burleson homestead and built a resort hotel offering glass-bottomed boat rides that allowed riders to see the bubbling springs under the water’s surface.
The city said the Aquarena Springs amusement park was added to the property, too. “Aquamaids” took to an underwater stage to perform synchronized swimming and underwater ballet routines. The park attracted 350,000 visitors every year.
The park was taken over by Texas State University in the 90s. The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, now located at the park, does research and develops educational programming on sustainable water management and environmental stewardship, according to the city.
The aquamaids might be gone, but the mermaid is still an important symbol of the city’s connection to natural resources in the area, including the San Marcos River.
The city has supported mermaid-themed public art, including murals and seven-foot-tall mermaid statues known as the Mermaid March. You can also find annual mermaid-themed events, including SPLASH festival, Mermaid Art Ball and the riverside Aqua Faire celebration.