Author Archives: sapltexana

May 23 in San Antonio history…

Despite the continued increase in the number of polio cases in San Antonio, Rev. John Scherzer of Grace Lutheran Church writes a message to his congregation protesting the closure of churches and Sunday Schools: “The church has always taught her people that cleanliness is next to godliness.  Now all of a sudden it appears that the meeting places for Sunday school children and for church people are health hazards, full of sneaking dangers to children.”

The San Antonio Express newspaper reports that County Commissioner A. J. Ploch has received death threats as a result of controversial comments he made about the CBS News program “Hunger in America,” filmed in San Antonio, that aired two nights ago.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) files a landmark suit against Texas education commissioner William Kirby in Travis County. In Edgewood ISD v. Kirby, filed on behalf of the Edgewood Independent School District, MALDEF charges that the state’s methods of funding public education violate at least four principles of the state constitution, which obligate the state legislature to provide an efficient and free public school system. 

May 22 in San Antonio history…

San Antonio now has 24 known cases of polio, five suspected cases and three deaths as the epidemic rages on.

The Rodriguez Brothers, known since 1920 for their beautiful and original memorial art, have just erected marble reproductions of Michaelangelo’s statues of Lorenzo De Medici and Giuliano De Medici.  These statues were imported from Carrara, Italy and are now on display at the South Entrance of Central Park Mall Shopping Center.

Fiesta Texas amusement park opens in northwest San Antonio.

May 21 in San Antonio history…

Murray Winn Sr. and Murray Winn Jr., owner and general manager of Winn’s stores, have sold all 12 local stores to three buyers from Lufkin, Roy D. Spears, John S. Redditt and J. M. Warren, Jr. for $600,000. The enterprise began in 1926 with a single store on S. St. Mary’s Street and had sales last year of over $1,000,000.

Demolition begins on the Cable House (right), formerly the headquarters of Tom Slick’s Essar Ranch.

Robert E. Lee high school votes to ban the Confederate flag from uniforms and activities sponsored by the school beginning in the fall. “We are not going to suspend students if they have it on a T-shirt or backpack; that’s an individual choice,” said Lee Principal Bill Fish. “But as an institution, we are not going to use it.  We’ve been trying to do this gradually over time,” he said, adding that new football uniforms have been ordered without the flag to replace old ones.

May 20 in San Antonio history

Three new suspected polio cases were reported in San Antonio this morning.  The city opened its second week’s drive against the epidemic reinforced with a heavy portable DDT “fog” machine, and a new shipment of the insecticide.  N.A. Davis, sanitarian of the state health department will ask local theaters to fumigate with cyanide gas to kill rats, which have been seen in the aisles of local theaters in the past 30 days.

Mike Vavala’s name is chosen from over 5,000 entries for suggesting the name of San Antonio’s new ABA basketball team: The San Antonio Spurs. He wins season tickets and a trip to the ABA playoffs.  The Aztecs was the second-most popular suggestion.

The San Antonio Central Library at 600 Soledad holds its grand opening.

May 19 in San Antonio history…

Two new cases of polio were reported in the city last night, bringing the total to 21 confirmed cases, as the polio epidemic rages on.  Health Board Chairman, Dr. P. I. Nixon, stated, “In the normal course of events we can expect a sprinkling of new cases for the next week or 10 days, after which they should taper off if our control measures are as effective as we hope they will be.”

An eight-person committee blasted the San Antonio City Council’s plan to red-stamp books in the public library written by authors known to have some sort of Communist party affiliation.  The group’s resolution states that “destruction of the library has usually been preceded by censorship, book burning and branding.  This is followed by suppression of newspapers, freedom of speech, thought, religion and press – and the destruction of capitalism and free enterprise.”

Nearly two months before the release of their second eponymous LP, Anglo-American band Fleetwood Mac, featuring new members Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks (right), play a concert in Municipal Auditorium.
(Photo courtesy of Feeding The Pig Antiques and Historical Photo Galleries.)


May 18 in San Antonio history…

The San Antonio Light reports that no new cases of polio have been reported in the city over the past 24 hours.  The current total stands at 19 confirmed polio cases with three deaths.

The San Antonio Spurs draw the #1 pick today for the June 22 draft lottery.  The Spurs plan to draft Navy’s David Robinson, who will not be available until 1989 after a two-year hitch in the Navy.  A jubilant Bob Bass, General Manager, exclaims, “We waited 14 years for a No. 1 pick, so what’s two more years?”

Ten years to the day after winning the lottery that provided them with Robinson, the Spurs hit the jackpot again on the lottery that would provide them with Tim Duncan (Spurs majority owner Peter Holt, right)

May 17 in San Antonio history…

In an emergency meeting of the Bexar County Medical society last night, the city health board was given a vote of confidence after some members had challenged the polio outbreak as being a “political epidemic.”  Meanwhile, three additional cases of the disease were reported, bringing the total to 19, excluding two suspected cases.

“The Biggest Rock and Roll Show of 1956 comes to Municipal Auditorium, featuring Bill Haley & His Comets, The Platters, Joe Turner, The Teen-agers, The Colts, The Teen Queens, Bo Diddley, Clyde McPhatter, The Drifters, The Flamingos, LaVern Baker, and Red Prysock & his Rock and Roll Orchestra.

The Arsenal property is offered for sale by the Texas National Guard and advertised as such in the Wall Street Journal  on a sealed-bid basis.

May 16 in San Antonio history…

Two new cases of polio were reported at Brooke General Hospital as airplanes sprayed hundreds of pounds of DDT over a broad area of San Antonio and crews sprayed buildings and contaminated areas in a continuing effort to halt the spread of the disease.

The Pigeon Hole Parking Garage went into operation today at 212 Soledad Street.  The 10-story building has a maximum capacity of 180 cars.  Two manually-operated elevators lift incoming cars to one of the nine floors where they are parked.  The whole operator is handled by only five employees.  Rates are five cents for ten minutes with a maximum charge of $1.50 per day.

For the second time in three months, thieves have struck the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, this time stealing four paintings by Picasso valued at over $75,000, including “Guitar and Wine Glass” from 1912 (right).  Tighter security measures will undoubtedly be forthcoming from museum directors.

May 15 in San Antonio history…

Playland Park holds its grand opening in its new location at 2222 N. Alamo (at Broadway). It will remain San Antonio’s favorite amusement park until closing in 1980.

Aerial spraying of DDT over the city begins today (right).  It is hoped that the insecticide will kill mosquitoes that are believed to be spreading the polio virus that is epidemic in the state.  The city’s polio death toll now stands at 16.

Beethoven Hall hosts a poetry reading as part of the San Antonio Festival.  Poets featured are Richard Howard, Cynthia MacDonald, Mark Strand, Homero Aridjis and Maya Angelou.

May 14 in San Antonio history…

The city health department reports one additional death, two new confirmed cases and six suspected cases of polio in the city.  Dr. Edward Sulkin, head of the bacteriological department of Southwestern Medical college, reported, “If the fly is a transmitter [of polio], T.M.I. is a hotbed” with garbage dumped into the creek behind the school and a leaking cesspool on the premises.

Mayor Jack White suggests that books in the public library written by known Communists should be branded or rubber stamped.  Interim City Manager Wylie Johnson takes things a step further, suggesting that the books be burned and every member of the library board be dismissed “if any of them have knowledge of Communist or Communist-leaning books in the library.”

An early grand opening is held at the Alamodome by invitation only.