Author Archives: sapltexana

February 17 in San Antonio history…

The first San Antonio Rodeo and Livestock Exposition is kicked off – in the brand new Bexar County Coliseum (later known as the Joe & Harry Freeman Coliseum.)

The 70-year old exhibit hall at the Kendall County Fairgrounds in Boerne is destroyed by fire.  The cause is later determined to be arson.

The Finck Cigar Company building, built in 1882,  is illegally demolished at 7:45 on a Sunday morning.  A construction company crew discovered at the debris-covered site of the designated city landmark was cited for allegedly violating the city code by not having a demolition permit.  Just weeks after the demolition, State Sen. Frank Tejeda filed a bill requiring responsible parties to rebuild historic buildings that are damaged or destroyed, or pay an amount equal to the estimated replacement cost to be used for preservation projects. But since the bill was not retroactive, it could not be used to make anyone pay the estimated $200,000 it would have cost to replace the Finck Building. In the end, the joint venture paid a $25,000 fine to the city for the demolition.

February 16 in San Antonio history…

On this day 156 years ago, a militia of 1,000 armed Texans, calling themselves “The Knights of the Golden Circle,” surrounded U.S. Gen. David E. Twiggs’s 160-man garrison at San Antonio, forcing the general to surrender. Union soldiers were allowed to leave the state carrying their arms, but $1.6 million of government property was left to be seized by the Confederacy. Texas took possession of the 20 military installations, 44 cannon, 1,900 muskets, 400 pistols, 2 magazines of ammunition, 500 wagons, and 950 horses. Twiggs’s unwillingness to fire upon Texans in the streets of their own cities was not appreciated in the North. What he viewed as an attempt to avoid bloodshed, most Unionists saw as a part of a Southern conspiracy for which Twiggs was mercilessly vilified. On March 1, 1861, Twiggs was dismissed from the Union Army by President Buchanan. Ten weeks later he was commissioned as a Major General in the Confederate Army and transferred to New Orleans to command the District of Louisiana. Twiggs retired shortly thereafter and died at age 72 near Augusta, Georgia on July 15, 1862.

A. J. Drossaerts becomes the first archbishop of San Antonio at noon today.  In San Fernando Cathedral, crowded to the doors by the thousands, the wool band with four crosses was placed on his shoulders by Archbishop John W. Shaw of New Orleans.

Final plans and specifications for the city’s proposed $1.7 million new main library were approved unanimously during a special meeting of the Library Board.  Advertisement for bids is expected to go out Monday.

February 15 in San Antonio history…

Couples getting married in Bexar County stand only a 50-50 chance of keeping out of divorce court.  Last year 6,902 marriages were held and 3,451 divorces were granted.

A plan to air condition Municipal Auditorium as well as San Pedro Playhouse was revealed today by Mayor Callaghan by issuance of $200,000 in revenue bonds.

Municipal Auditorium hosts “The Biggest Show of Stars for ’60,”featuring: Frankie Avalon, Clyde McPhatter, Bobby Rydell, Johnny & the Hurricanes, The Crests, Freddy Cannon, Sammy Turner, The Isley Brothers, Linda Laurie, The Clovers, Cliff Richard, Paul Williams and his Orchestra

February 14 in San Antonio history…

San Antonio’s Klan #31 branch of the Ku Klux Klan donates $15 to Second Baptist Church, an African-American congregation, toward their expansion fundraising goal of $5,000.  Rev. I. H. Kelley is dismissed for accepting the money.

Thieves who possibly came in the guise of worshipers took a crucifix two and one-half feet high, several glasses, and altar candles from the Shrine of the Little Flower, located at Kentucky Avenue and Zarzamora Street, it was reported today.

The Irish now-supergroup U2 (right) makes their first appearance in San Antonio, playing at Cardi’s – a briefly renamed Randy’s Rodeo, promoting their current album “October.”  Tickets were $4. (Photo by Al Rendon)

February 13 in San Antonio history…

Work is progressing on a new aeroplane shed at Fort Sam Houston to house the new Wright aeroplane.

In an effort to reduce accidents, all slow-moving traffic will be compelled to keep to the right-hand curb on downtown streets.  Buggies and wagons can’t compete with fast-moving autos.

The public is invited to a reopening of the Jersey Lilly saloon at the Pearl Brewery on Valentine’s Day tomorrow.  Guests can avail themselves of a free glass of Pearl beer or other refreshments.

February 12 in San Antonio history…

An arctic outbreak across Texas brings a record February low of four degrees to the Alamo City.  This photo (right) shows Adolph Wagner, Ernst Steves and Mrs. Aaron Pancost skating on a frozen West End (now Woodlawn) Lake. (photo from the UTSA library)

It is unofficially announced that Alderman-elect Richter has decided to convert his big 30-pound loaf of bread that has been on exhibition on Military Plaza, into a fine oyster loaf and has invited a large number of his personal friends to a little dinner Sunday afternoon.

A fire sweeps through Ursuline Academy, gutting a portion of the school that had been built in 1913.  By the time firemen brought the fire under control, only the walls were standing and water pressure knocked down several unstable portions.

November 12 in San Antonio history….

“The Great Blue Norther of 1911” arrives in San Antonio, dropping temperatures 35 degrees – not nearly as extreme as it was in the Midwest.  In Springfield, Missouri, the temperature swung from 80 degrees to 13 in a matter of hours!

February 11 in San Antonio history…

The second floor of the Heusinger Hardware Company, on the south side of Military Plaza, collapses just after noon.  The six occupants of the store are uninjured.

About 1000 weary horsemen, members of the Texas Trail Riders Association, reached the end of the trail today to be greeted by eight poster girl lovelies and an official “howdy” from the Chamber of Commerce.  Every year they make the 135 mile trek from Altair to San Antonio for the Stock Show and Rodeo.

The American Freedom Train arrives in San Antonio for a four-day visit to celebrate the Bicentennial.

February 10 in San Antonio history…

The new traffic ordinance goes into effect in two days.  Police Chief Lancaster has directed the printing of several thousand booklets containing a synopsis of the more important regulations, such as:  “Drivers must signal to drivers behind them before stopping by raising the hand or whip” and “No intoxicated person or person under the influence of liquor shall operate a vehicle on the streets of the city.”

The Harlem Globetrotters add an afternoon game vs. the New York Celtics because of high demand for tomorrow night’s double-header in the Alamo Stadium gymnasium.  The Globetrotters are scheduled to play the Philadelphia Giants in the second game of the evening.  The Philadelphia SPHA and New York teams will battle in the first game.  The south side of the gym has been reserved for negro fans and the north side for whites.

San Antonio is chosen for the site of the new Toyota truck plant.

February 9 in San Antonio history….

The Beatles make their American television debut on the Ed Sullivan Show, broadcast on KENS Channel 5 at 7:00 p.m (right).  45.3% of U.S. TV households tune in, representing 73 million people — a record for an entertainment program up to that time.

1,500 people show up to honor Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez at a banquet in La Villita Assembly Hall.  Gonzalez himself is stranded in Dallas due to a cancelled flight but takes an all-night ride on a Greyhound bus to attend the event.

City Council passed a resolution today urging Penner’s Inc. to rebuild its downtown men’s clothing store recently destroyed by fire. It is intended as a signal to the San Antonio Development Agency to make land just behind the Penner’s site at 311 E. Commerce St. available for reconstruction of the store.