Blog Archives

December 1 in San Antonio history…

1938
The headlines of the San Antonio newspapers describe a bus/train accident that resulted in the death of 26 children.  This accident spawned the myth of the “ghost tracks” at Shane and Villamain. Despite being the lead story in the newspaper, the accident actually took place in Salt Lake City, Utah.

1983
Today Show’s Willard Scott throws the switch to light the River Walk and serves as celebrity Grand Marshall in the first Holiday River Parade.

2005
VIA Metropolitan Transit and agencies throughout the United States dedicate a front seat on each bus to Rosa Parks, who defied segregation laws to keep her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama on this date fifty years ago.

November 2 in San Antonio history…

1867
The first game of baseball is played in San Antonio.

1913
Directors of the Beethoven Maennerchor Assn. announced that Beethoven Hall, partially destroyed by fire yesterday, will be rebuilt as quickly as possible.1938
A hackberry tree was cut down in Madison Square Park last night. No explanation has been found except that officials think it may be because the tree obstructed the “practice field” of young footballers.  Police are hoping a young George Washington will confess.

1966
A record low temperature was set on this date with temperatures plunging to 31 degrees.

October 31 in San Antonio history…

1913
Beethoven Hall. South Alamo street, San Antonio’s largest auditorium, was partially destroyed by a fire that broke out at 10:45 p.m. this evening. The building, valued at $40,000, suffered damages of $25,000, it was estimated today. The origin of the blaze has not yet been fully determined. Delay in sounding the alarm permitted the fire  to gain great headway, as members of the Beethoven Maennerchor in the club room did not heed cries of “fire,” believing practical jokers were intent on making them victims of a Hallowe’en prank.

1938
George Johnson, station manager, of KTSA reports in the San Antonio Light that received a call from an official at Fort Sam Houston who asked “what in the hell are you doing?” during last night’s broadcast of “War of the Worlds.”

1993
An artic cold front brings a record low temperature of 27 degrees to San Antonio and breaks a number of records. It is the earliest day in San Antonio history that the temperature has dropped into the 20’s.

October 30 in San Antonio history…

1894
The Ringling Brothers’ circus comes to San Antonio for the first time (right), arriving on the I. & G. N. railroad.  The parade came down the streets at 9:30 this morning and the show commenced at 1:00 p.m. in the seven-pole big top tent on the fair grounds.

1912
A tragic fire at St. John’s Orphans Home (right), on the corner of San Saba and W. Houston Street, kills six nuns and three orphans.

1938
Radio station KTSA broadcasts “Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre” featuring a radio drama of H. G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” from 7 to 8 p.m (right).  Despite announcements before, during and after the program, some frightened radio listeners believe it is a real invasion of aliens from Mars.

October 27 in San Antonio history…

1889
Demand continues for horned frogs at No. 31 Soledad where payment of $1.20 a dozen is made.  Also wanted are 2,000 rattlesnake skins.

1938
Sears, Roebuck & Co. moves from the Transit Tower location to their new downtown headquarters at Romana Plaza. In 1995, this location would become the San Antonio Central Library.

1960
The San Antonio Light publishes a photograph (right) of the $2000.00 saddle made by the Ben Varga Saddlery Company for the occasion of the London premiere of the new John Wayne movie “The Alamo.”

October 15 in San Antonio history…

1910
The Hertzberg Clock is removed from 329 Commerce Street and moved to its new home on Houston Street. The clock works are removed and the old clock is transported through the streets by wagon. One bystander says, “Well, I guess I will have to buy me a watch now. As long as that clock was in place, I didn’t need one. It was watch enough for the whole neighborhood.”

1938
The Alamo Museum, built with Texas Centennial funds, is dedicated. Ceremonies are held in the new State Park surrounding the Alamo chapel.

1951
“I Love Lucy” premieres at 7:00 p.m. on WOAI-TV (right).

 

September 9 in San Antonio history…

1900galveston
The San Antonio Light‘s report totally understates the effect of the massive hurricane damage to Galveston. The Daily Express gets closer but with telegraph and telephone lines down, it’s difficult to ascertain the full extent of the destruction.

1938
Woody Herman and his Orchestra begin an engagement in the Starlit Garden of the Olmos Dinner Club “playing music you’ll like.”

2004
The bottling house at the Pearl Brewery burns to the ground.  The three-alarm fire, well under way by the time a security guard spotted it at 2 a.m., took with it a 107-year old, 40,000-square-foot structure with an arched doorway and windows and the mission-style arch of the Alamo.  It took 85 firefighters more than 90 minutes to bring the massive fire under control. The plant’s golden-domed brew house also was damaged.

June 5 in San Antonio history…

1938
The scale model of Columbia, featuring the inverted shields of the United States and Texas and sculpted for the $100,000 Alamo Cenotaph by Pompeo Coppini, is exhibited at a private showing in his studio at 111 Melrose Place from 4 to 6 p.m.

1946
W. D. Masterson, chairman of the water board, said that the current polio outbreak could not be traced to the water supply, as it was checked daily and no contamination has been found.  The heath department did recommend, however, that drinking water from shallow wells in the city be boiled.

1969
The University of Texas at San Antonio is established on this date.

April 1 in San Antonio history…

1937
Crowds gasp in amazement as oil is struck on the grounds of the Alamo.  The well is expected to produce 50,000 barrels a day.

1938
A giant meteor smashes into the Tower Life Building (right).

1949
A photograph of the Goodyear blimp moored to the Transit Tower is shown on the front page of the San Antonio Light.  It’s just an April Fool’s joke.  The blimp is in San Antonio for a week but it is being kept at Municipal Airport.  In fact, all of these were April Fool’s photos from the newspapers.

March 27 in San Antonio history…

1889
The paving of Alamo Plaza with mesquite blocks is begun.

1938
The Pearl Brewery announces that it is the first brewery in North America to be completely air-conditioned.

1965
The Express-News prints this article about the Peter, Paul and Mary concert at Trinity University the day before yesterday (March 25):
“Peter, Paul and Mary showed up 45 minutes late for their Trinity U. performance Thursday night. They were in Montgomery, Ala., involved in civil rights doings, and landed at International Airport at 8:20 p.m. The show was set for 8 p.m. But that would have been fine with everybody if the trio, instead of sticking to song (for which they were excruciatingly well paid), hadn’t ad-libbed through a lot of emotional stuff about Alabama. The big crowd didn’t dig it at all…”