On a hot summer day in 1916, Dr. S.M. “Froggy” Sewell, a mathematics professor, went wading into the brush- and weed-choked San Marcos River. No place was deeper than three feet, and all agreed that the college needed a park.
In 1917, the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries leased the college four acres of land along the river. College workers armed with mud scrapers and mules cleaned the river bottom, built up the banks and smoothed the slopes. It was called Riverside until renamed for Sewell in 1946. (For a history of Riverside, read Chloe Walker Sanborn's 1944 HPER master's thesis, "The Story of Riverside
The present-day plaza and basketball court used to be an island, but the eastern fork of the river consistently clogged and was eventually filled in. The S-shaped bend in the river was shored up by concrete walls in the ’20s.
In 1984, a $1 million renovation gave the present six-acre park its current look. Sewell Park is open to Texas State students, faculty and staff.
Today, it is a tradition for Texas State students to enjoy down time at the park. A newer tradition associated with Sewell Park is the Commencement Dive, when graduating seniors dive into the San Marcos River after commencement ceremonies.