Blog Archives

April 12 in San Antonio history…

Mission San Antonio de Valero (“The Alamo”) secularized by decree.

1918 – World War I
Mayor Bell is in receipt of the first letter delivered here by airplane.  In fact, there were two letters, one from W. E. Anderson, city manager of Brownsville and the other from M. Rickey, mayor of San Benito.  The letters were brought in my Major Decker of the U.S. Aviation Corps, who flew to San Antonio from Brownsville, stopping at both San Benito and Kingsville.

Shortly before 7 p.m., an F5 tornado hits the town of Rocksprings, Texas.  Nearly one mile wide, the monster tornado demolished Rocksprings, destroying 235 of the 247 buildings in the town, killing 74 people and injuring 205 – almost one-third of the population.  If a proportional disaster hit San Antonio today it would mean the deaths of almost 100,000 people.


March 28 in San Antonio history…

1918 – World War I
The Salvation Army’s drive for $10,000, San Antonio’s quota for the money being raised for Salvation Army work in the military camps, was launched yesterday with a luncheon in the St. Anthony Hotel.

The new Magnolia gas station at Broadway and the Austin Highway opens for business (photo, right, taken in 2011).

Johnny Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash, perform at Municipal Auditorium along with their children, Roseanne Cash, Rosey Nix and Carlene Carter.

February 16 in San Antonio history…

U.S. Government property is surrendered by General Twiggs at San Antonio to the Secession Convention Commissioners. If this had not been a peaceful transfer, it would be known as the event that started the Civil War – right here in San Antonio.

1918 – World War I
The inter-camp boxing and wrestling tournament, which was scheduled to take place at Kelly Field tonight, will be staged at Beethoven Hall, beginning at 8 o’clock, sharp, according to an announcement from M. C. Salassa, physical director of the Army Y. M. C. A. at Kelly Field.  The rain interfered with the program at Kelly Field as the ring on the flying grounds is pitched in the open.

A. J. Drossaerts (right) became 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.

January 26 in San Antonio history…

1918 – World War I
The President urges Americans to have two wheatless days weekly and one wheatless meal daily to reduce wheat consumption in the United States by 30 percent.

A skeptical audience charged the stage at Beethoven Hall last night after group of mediums failed to convince the crowd that their spiritual demonstrations were worth the price of admission.  Police were called to disperse the angry crowd.

The Plaza Hotel (later the Granada) holds its grand opening.

January 7 in San Antonio history…

The first passenger train to Floresville went out over the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad.

As a result of injuries sustained in a fall from a window of the St. Anthony Hotel yesterday morning about 4 o’clock, Henry Lee Borden, 39 years old, prominent lawyer of Houston, died this morning at a local sanitarium.  John T. Crotty, also of Houston, who shared the hotel room with Judge Borden, gave it as his belief that Borden, half awake, mistook the window opening for a door and walked out, falling before he could catch his balance.

The first talking picture is shown as a press premiere at the Aztec Theater:  ”Don Juan” starring John Barrymore (right)

December 18 in San Antonio history…

1917 – World War I
The spring Fiesta in commemoration of the Battle of San Jacinto, observed annually in San Antonio for the last twenty-three years, is to be abandoned next spring because of the war conditions which make it impossible to obtain excursion rates on the railroads or to secure railroad equipment under any conditions to accommodate the thousands of visitors.

The Texas Theater celebrates the one year anniversary of their grand opening by offering free admission to anyone who attended the first performance last year and can show the ticket stub or souvenir program to prove it.

Eastwood Country Club features “The Fabulous Ike and Tina Turner Revue (right).”

August 12 in San Antonio history…

1917 – World War I
The cantonment buildings at Camp Travis will be finished and ready for occupancy August 25, six days ahead of schedule, thus probably shattering the world’s record for this class of construction, according to an official telegram sent to the War Department by Major George E. Thorne and Thomas A. Carr, representing, respectively, the government and the Stone & Webster Company. Although one of the three largest of the sixteen cantonments under construction throughout the country, it will be the first to be completed, thus winning a race against time in which all the contractors were contestants.

Frost Bank moves into its new multistory “skyscraper” at the SW corner of Commerce and Flores streets (now the Municipal Plaza Building.)

“Wings”, a silent World War I epic filmed in San Antonio, premieres in New York.  The movie stars Clara Bow and Buddy Rogers and features the (brief) film debut of Gary Cooper.  The next year, “Wings” will be the first film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture.



June 16 in San Antonio history…

1917 – World War I
The fund for the Protestant Orphans Home to meet the increased expenses occasioned by the high cost of living has now reached $254. This money and other money that it is hoped will be subscribed to meet the monthly deficit will be used for the support of the 180 children in the home.

San Antonio’s “Ace,” Major Edgar Tobin, will command a squadron of six fast DeHavilland airplanes which have been ordered to the border for scout duty in the campaign against Villa and his followers.  The ships, manned by a pilot and an observer, will leave Kelly Field at an early hour this morning.

After being found between the mission and the San Antonio River, the stolen altar bell of San Jose is back on its ancient shelf today.

May 19 in San Antonio history…

1917 – World War I
The St. Anthony Hotel offers a “Khaki Night” of “Music, Dancing and Happiness” on their roof garden.  Cover charge is $1.50 and soldiers are specifically invited to wear their khaki uniforms.

The Texas Theater shows a one-night-only sneak preview of “Wings,” starring Clara Bow, Charles “Buddy” Rogers, Richard Arlen and Gary Cooper, before the official world premiere at the Criterion Theater in New York on August 12.  The motion picture was filmed in and around San Antonio and would win the first “Best Picture” Academy Award.

Nearly two months before the release of their second eponymous LP, Anglo-American band Fleetwood Mac, featuring new members Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, play a concert in Municipal Auditorium.

April 18 in San Antonio history…

1917 – World War I
“Judging from the splendor of the opening events San Antonio’s Fiesta San Jacinto deserves far greater fame than it has yet achieved.’’ said Maj. Gen. John J. Pershing, commander of the Southern Department, this morning. “It is a revelation to me for I never dreamed It was such a magnificent affair. It deserves to rank with the Mardi Gras at New Orleans and will surpass it when it becomes better known. If the climax to the Fiesta is as wonderful as the opening events seem to justify, and I hear it is, people should come many miles to see it.”

Archbishop Robert J. Drossaerts rededicates 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.

Mission Stadium and Ballpark opened and the first Texas league game was played there.