Thursday, April 30, 2009

April 30 in San Antonio History...

1927: After being closed for two years, Woodlawn Lake, the only body of water supplied with “hand picked fish,” will be open for fishing Sunday. Undesirable fish have been weeded out, leaving a “choice” of 50,000.

1934: The operator of a gun and saddle shop on S. Flores admited he had sold machineguns and other weapons to George “Baby Face” Nelson and John Dillinger.

1976: Republican presidental candidate Ronald Reagan charged today, in a speech in front of the Alamo, that bloodshed may be triggered in South Africa by a shift in foreign policy by the Ford administration.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

April 29 in San Antonio History...

1926: Fast mail service from San Antonio to New York was heralded at the christening of the giant air mail plane, Miss San Antonio, at Kelly Field, Flight time was to be 33 hours.

1935: A tornado ripped stable roofs at Alamo Downs and dumped heavy rains over the city.

1937: M. A. Post, watchmaker, who has a contract to wind the clock in the Quadrangle tower at Fort Sam Houston, revealed the steel cable holding the weights had worn out after 30 years and had to be repaired.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April 28 in San Antonio History...

1926: Contracts for the new $1 million Bexar county courthouse were let by the comissioner’s court to Walsh & Burney Co.

1944: Women hired to replace drafted San Antonio garbage collectors were warned not to fraternize with married garbage truck drivers after a wife complained to Director L.E. LeLaurin.

1956: The San Antonio Missions were riding a five-game winning streak with an 11-10 victory over the Shreveport Sports yesterday.

Monday, April 27, 2009

April 27 in San Antonio History...

1896: The need for extra sanitation men is becoming very apparent as the hot season, with its accompanying plethora of decaying fruits and rinds, is upon us.

1946: The super-duper Battle of Flowers parade was declared worth waiting four years for, but the observer doubted the aching backs and feet would be rested in another year.

1967: A public hearing on a proposed $1.25-an-hour wage ordinance for the city was set by the City Council in a surprise action.

1979: Ira Attebury sprays crowd with shotgun and semiautomatic rifle fire from parked motorhome during Battle of Flowers parade. Two die, 55 are wounded. Attebury commits suicide as SWAT teams close in.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

April 26 in San Antonio History...

1914: The San Antonio Equal Franchise Society announced a mass suffrage rally for May 2 as part of a nationwide demonstation pressing for votes for women.

1924: The national balloon races, which began at Kelly Field three days before, came to an end as W. T. Van Orman’s “Goodyear III” came down north of Rochester, Minn., winning the race.

Fiesta and Pearl Brewery: 1968

Fiesta 1968 program front and back covers.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

April 25 in San Antonio History...

1885: Light reporter M.H. Claytor won the annual newsmen shooting contest at San Pedro Park.

1924: Five of seven balloons trying for national records from Kelly Field were forced down over Oklahoma by electrical storms. The “Honeywell” and the “Goodyear III,”
however, were reported over Minnesota or Wisconsin.

1955: San Antonio school children got their first Salk polio vaccine shots today.

Fiesta and Pearl Brewery: 1963

Friday, April 24, 2009

April 24 in San Antonio History...

1896: A very audacious method of collecting bills has been introduced. A fellow, labeled with one word “Collector” on a big red band around his girth, has gone out with a stack of bills.

1924: Seven balloons launched at Kelly Field, the hub of national balloon races, in winds of 25 to 100 miles an hour were reported over Oklahoma and Arkansas.

1944: Six crew members were hospitalized, but none killed, in the crash of a B-26 bomber near Leon Creek at Grissom Road.

1994: David Robinson scores 71 points against the L.A. Clippers to win the NBA scoring title that year.

A Fiesta "Goodread"

San Antonio on Parade: Six Historic Festivals (Tarleton State University Southwestern Studies in the Humanities, No. 15)

Interested in the early history of Fiesta San Jacinto?

Check this Fiesta history out from your library:

Or investigate this and other San Antonio history tales from Texana's Goodread's collection:

San Antonio on Parade: Six Historic Festivals

Fiesta and Pearl Brewery: 1958

In honor for Fiesta week, here's another example of the close relationship between Fiesta and beer: the 1958 Fiesta program's front and back covers.

Drink responsibly this Fiesta Week!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fiesta Posters from

We found this great slideshow of the last 29 years of Fiesta posters on today:

Which one is your favorite?

April 23 in San Antonio History...

1906: More than $500 was raised at the mass meeting in the Grand Opera House for the relief of earthquake victims in San Francisco.

1915: A gigantic advertising campaign launched the new Camel cigarette brand in San Antonio.

1925: Governor Miriam “Ma” Ferguson and her ousted governor husband arrived in San Antonio to see the Fiesta parades.

Fiesta and Pearl Brewery: 1956

1956 Fiesta program, front and back covers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

April 22 in San Antonio History...

1895: Two horses and a cow were placed in the pound by the city marshall who found them roaming the streets.

1925: Mayor John Tobin and the city commission filed for reelection in the first unopposed election in San Antonio history.

1955: Councilman Henry B. Gonzales today announced he advocates a professional city manager to head the city’s administrative forces.

Fiesta and Pearl Brewery: 1955

1954 Fiesta program and back cover.

What housewife doesn't enjoy a nice, cold beer when taking a break from gardening in the South Texas heat?!

Enjoy Fiesta 2009 responsibly, everyone!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

April 21 in San Antonio History...

1904: Three automobiles participated in the 14th annual Battle of Flowers parade.

1934: F.F. Gosden and C.J. Corell, known to millions as “Amos and Andy” arrived arrived in San Antonio for a week of performances at the Majestic.

1935: Suspended County Clerk George Huntress went on trial on chrages of misconduct and incompetancy in office. The chrages grew out of a $10,000 shortage of office funds which employees said brass used to play the horses.

Fiesta and Pearl Brewery: 1954

In honor of Fiesta week and the most popular Fiesta beverage, beer, we will feature a different bit of Fiesta & beer nostalgia everyday this week. It seems that throughout the 1950's, 60's and 70's Pearl Beer was the primary sponsor of the Fiesta programs, because each year's Fiesta program from that era features a big Pearl Beer back-cover ad.

Enjoy these blasts from the past, and please enjoy Fiesta 2009 responsibly!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Fiesta "Goodread"

Inventing the Fiesta City: Heritage and Carnival in San Antonio

Wondering about how all this Fiesta business got started in the first place?

Take a look at Laura Hernandez-Ehrisman's thorough look at the politics, racial tensions and class issues that molded our city's beloved festival into what it is today.

Check it out from your local SAPL branch:

Or follow this link to take a look at other Texana picks on Goodreads:

Inventing the Fiesta City: Heritage and Carnival in San Antonio

Fiesta Programs, Then and Now

Here is just a sampling of the material in the Texana/Genealogy Dept.'s Fiesta archival collection. Take a glimpse at the evolution of the Fiesta program over the years and share your favorite memories from Fiesta.

April 20 in San Antonio History...

1895: The Light began a series of articles explaining the new income tax.

1917: Dry cleaning at home is all the rage in San Antonio. Any woman can do $5 worth of dry cleaning by simply dissolving 2 ounces of solvite in 2 gallons of gasoline, then immerseing the articles to be cleaned.

1926: Guerilla warfare between Sheriff Jim Stevens and a band of auto strippers reached a climax when avenging thieves invaded the courthouse basement and drove off in a sheriff investigator’s auto.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

April 19 in San Antonio History...

1905: After hearing complaints of property owners police began a crackdown on persons driving carriages at an excessive rate of speed along Avenue C (Broadway).

A dictaphone was used for the first time in a local court to record the proceedings.

1957: San Antonio oilman Tom Slick was quoted from Katamandu, Nepal, as saying his exploring party had found three sets of mysterious tracks which he is convinced were made by the fabled “Abominable Snowman” of the Himalayas.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

April 18 in San Antonio History...

1927: Archbishop Robert J. Drossaerts rededicated San Jose Mission as a sacred edifice. Restored to its original lines of 160 years ago, the mission will be reblessed to compensate for the time it lay in ruins.

1934: Opera star Charles Hackett arrived at the Alamo City to sing at coronation ceremonies for the Fiesta queen at Municipal Auditorium.

1936: One of the largest anti-Communist demonstrations ever held in the history of San Antonio was held at Tech High School.

Friday, April 17, 2009

April 17 in San Antonio History...

1905: Trustees of San Antonio Masonic Lodges met to consider ways and means of erecting a new temple at Losoya and Crokett.

1906: It was announced the courthouse was to be enlarged. The project was estimated to cost $100,000.

1926: A local girl, 17 year-old Josephine Strickler, was awarded the Carnegie Hero medal for saving a friend from drowning in the Guadalupe River four years ago. She also received a $1,500 college scholarship.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

April 16 in San Antonio History...

1896: Work of tearing away the south side addition to the Alamo began.

1917: Five full-grown beavers will be the newest addition to the San Antonio Zoo. Park Commissioner Ray Lambert is getting them from Yellowstone Park.

1927: The modern girl is going for more clothes. In San Antonio this year the average Easter outfit costs about $65, as follows: dress $25, shoes $10, hat $5, underwear $10, hose $3 and accessories $12.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April 15 in San Antonio History...

1924: Produce dealers petitioned the City Commission against the use of Haymarket Plaza for the annual carnival held during Fiesta San Jacinto.

1926: Mission Grove’s new oil field was assuming boom proportions with oil wells flourishing in back yards and lease specualtion on the increase.

1935: Sheriff Albert West banned cockfights in Bexar County and said all violators would be prosecuted.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April 14 in San Antonio History...

1885: The City Council ordered all downtown cesspools abolished and began studying ways and means to extend sewer lines.

1895: Contractors finished plastering the new Bexar County Courthouse.

1936: US Communist party leaders said they would fight the City Council’s decision to forbid a member of the party’s central committee to speak here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Facebook beat us to the punch

The purpose of this blog is to collect stories and memories from San Antonio's past. The San Antonio Public Library's Texana/Genealogy Dept. has a wealth of local historical material, including oral histories and personal journals, but we want more! We want to hear what you remember about your San Antonio childhood or about your favorite trip to the Riverwalk if you're not a native.

Well, it seems we are not alone in our desire to gather these anecdotes and stories. We just discovered a Facebook group devoted to the very same thing.
"Classic San Antonio:1950-1999" is an online group forum started and maintained by John C. Harrison and Pete Elias.
From their site:

"Here is where people can share thoughts and memories of SA and the many facets
that make up this wonderful and diverse city. If the subject relates to SA,
feel free to share it here. Discussions may relate to a variety of subjects
such as Playland Park, HemisFair, Captain Gus, the Hertzberg Circus Museum,
Wonderland Mall, Joe "Godfather" Anthony, the BIG snow of '85 or the Spurs
first championship in '99. With that kind of history, it's nice to have a
home online where we can visit and reminisce. So, if you ever took a school
field trip to the Butter Krust bakery, celebrated a birthday at Kiddie Park
or been hardware shopping at Handy Dan then this is the group for you.Please
feel free to post as many SA-related photos and videos as possible here.
Personal photos are also welcomed. Let's try to make this group THE on-line
home for 20th Century SA history."

Follow the link above to scroll through the hundreds of old photos and videos group members have uploaded. If you grew up in San Antonio during the "Classic" era, you owe it to yourself to take this trip down memory lane. Albert Flores' Color the Weather and the old VIA bus ads were two blasts-from-the-past that tickled me today as I went through some of the videos.

Enjoy! But don't forget to return here to share your newly-stirred memories with us!

April 13 in San Antonio History...

1886: It is a favorite practice with boys on Sunday afternoons to steal to the top of the Maverick building, Houston and Alamo Plaza, to seat themselves on the edge of it with their legs dangling in the air.

1894: Don Pedrito, the Alazan Creek faith healer, prescribed violent tummy-rubbing for five minutes daily to reduce the abdomen of Commissioner Dwyer. The Commissioner said he would think it over.

1925: Multi-millionaire Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr. breezed through San Antonio driving his own car.

April 12 in San Antonio History...

1904: A New York actor in San Antonio for an engagement at the Grand Opera House was arrested for writing advertising messages on downtown sidewalks in chalk.

1936: Bob Coleman, manager of the San Antonio Missions, pronounced his charges ready for the Texas League Race, which starts next week.

1944: Several hundred Bexar County men over 26, told previously they were too old to be drafted, received noticed to report for induction.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

April 11 in San Antonio History...

1885: Alamo Iron Works moved to its new plant on Sunset Rd. near E. Commerce.

1894: A mystical healer at Alazan creek who drew crowds exceeding 500 persons per day attempted unsuccessfully to cure the baldness of a Light reporter. He said the reporter was incapable of “complete and unequivocal concentration.”

1924: An auto polo match with drivers weilding mallets and speeding after a small, red ball was sponsored by Alzafar Shrine Temple at San Antonio Speedway.

Friday, April 10, 2009

April 10 in San Antonio History...

1906: With the approach of summer, the city electrician is kept busy due to the business houses again putting their electric fans into operation.

1934: San Antonio police, already jumpy over reports Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were headed South, were told by federal agents that John Dillinger may be lamming towards San Antonio too.

1944: For the first time since WWII began, the OPA placed a ceiling on ration-free cabrito and goat meat in San Antonio; 30 cents a pound for cabrito, 17 and 30 cents for mature goat cuts.

April 9 in San Antonio History...

1886: Joske Brothers is exhibiting much enterprise and liberality by giving their customers a handsome watch and chain free.

1924: Program for the national balloon races to be held at Kelly Field was approved by the National Aeronautical Assn.

1955: A bold burglar broke into Police Headquarters, taking $46 and a sheet of three cent stamps.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

April 8 in San Antonio History...

1887: The seven-month drought is unbroken. A public meeting has been called. Prayers will be offered tonight at the synagogue.

1935: New riots broke out between strikers and non-strikers at the pecan-shelling factories on the West side.

1946: The Commisssioners Court unofficially endorsed the underground parking project proposed at Travis Park with an added suggestion another be built under Main Plaza.

April 7 in San Antonio History...

1914: Hundreds of extras stormed the walls in a movie reenactment of the Battle of the Alamo as throngs of San Antonians looked on from roofs of nearby buildings.

1924: Bible reading exercises, made mandatory by action of the School Board, started the day in all San Antonio schools.

1925: Fiesta planners announced an illuminated night pageant would be held this year.

Monday, April 6, 2009

April 6 in San Antonio History...

1896: Will Tobin was named grand marshal of the coming Battle of Flowers parade in a meeting at the Menger.

1905: President Theodore Roosevelt was greeted by top city and military officials when his special train arrived for the Rough Riders reunion.

1927: While visiting in San Antonio Walter B. Briggs, assistant librarian, Harvard College, expressed surprise at the amount of literacy in this region. He said he had no idea such a small community would have such large schools.

April 5 in San Antonio History...

1907: Ten sanitary inspectors will be added and put on police duty during Fiesta Week to protect the crowd against pickpockets, confidence men, grafters, and the other unwelcome visitors who are usually present.

1925: Police lassoed a pet alligator gone astray as it sunned itself on Broadway near Brackenridge Park.

1956: The Coliseum was desegregated on the order of the board of managers. An announcement declared there would be no discrimination “based on race, color, or creed of persons lawfully on the Coliseum premises.”

April 4 in San Antonio History...

1896: The building of new ice factories has put this former summer luxury within financial reach of most San Antonians.

1945: Mayor Gus Mauermann and the City Council protested German POWs at area air bases were getting better food than civilians and too much pay for working in military construction jobs.

1956: Six Randolph Air Force Base survivors gave details today of the crash of their B-29 off Austin Highway. The plane struck a radio tower yesterday and plowed into a field, killing one airman.

Friday, April 3, 2009

April 3 in San Antonio History...

1905: President Theodore Roosevelt left Washington to attend the Rough Rider’s reunion in San Antonio.

1914: Park Commissioner S. R. Walker mailed a request to Congressman Slayden for bass and catfish to stock the pool at San Pedro Springs.

1935: A brake-testing campaign for San Antonio motorists was cancelled as the hightway department ordered patrolmen to stand by to aid in a state-wide search for gunman Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April 2 in San Antonio History...

1894: A combination saloon and cock-fighting pit was opened at East and Monterey by Bob Marx.

1924: San Antonian who went to the police station to protest the theft of a flask of whiskey was booked for violation of the Dean prohibition act.

1934: Alamo Downs’ first horses, a string of seven thoroughbreds belonging to W. J. Potter, arrived from New Orleans.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools, San Antonio!

In this post-9/11 era, it's doubtful any major news outlet would run an April Fool's story, so we have to look to the past for these clever tricks. The Texana staff has dug up two great April Fools news stories from the San Antonio Light.

The April 1, 1938 edition carried this alarming headline and image of a giant, smoking meteor in front of the damaged Tower Life building.

Then in 1956, the Tower Life building was again the target of an April Fools prank. This time a long, serious article accompanies the shocking image of a leaning Tower Life building, just like the famous tower of Pisa. The very last line of the article finally gives up the joke with the simple sentence, "It is, dear readers, April Fools."