Blog Archives

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 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.

May 12 in San Antonio history…

Due to the polio epidemic, the San Antonio board of health decrees that:

  • all theaters, dance halls and other public gathering places be closed to children and to adults up to and including those 21 years of age
  • all swimming pools be closed and swimming in the San Antonio River and surrounding streams is prohibited
  • sale of unpasteurized milk is prohibited
  • tonsillectomy surgeries are inadvisable
  • boarding school are urged to discontinue classes
  • all parties and picnics are discouraged
  • public parks are closed to all those under 21 years of age.

Possibility of a tornado in the San Antonio area was forecast by the U.S. Weather Bureau. Hail and winds reaching up to 50 or 60 miles per hour were also listed as possibilities. (This was the same storm system that spawned an F5 tornado destroying downtown Waco the previous day.)

The $100,000, 3.2 mile “Brackenridge Eagle” railroad track began carrying its first passengers around Brackenridge Park.

January 24 in San Antonio history…

Firemen estimate losses at $200,000 in a fire which destroyed L. Wolfson’s clothing store on Main Plaza.  (It would be destroyed by fire again and for good on Oct. 1, 2011.)
(right, photo courtesy Maria Watson Pfeiffer)

The State Legislature passed a bill to purchase the Alamo for a historic shrine for $65,000.

Oscar Levant performs Gershwin’s “Concerto in F” and “Rhapsody in Blue” with the San Antonio Symphony at Municipal Auditorium.


December 27 in San Antonio history…

G. T. Lewis, rural route mail carrier, filed suit today against a wagon driver who would not pull over for Lewis’s automobile.  He held the center of the road for six or seven miles.  After Lewis was finally able to pass, he got out of his car to confront the wagon driver, who pulled a shotgun, cocked it and ordered Lewis to stand back.  He is charged with obstructing and delaying U.S. Mail and assaulting a carrier in the discharge of his duty.

A candle burning at the altar of the Chapel of Miracles, 113 Ruiz street, set fire to the interior of the little church this morning and caused considerable damage before firemen extinguished the blaze.

New Light Baptist Church features a festival of gospel singing groups, including the Gospel Harmonizers, New Hope Gospel Singers, King’s Harmonizers, Mt. Sinai Trio, Mt. Rose Gospel Singers, Jefferson, Newton, Jefferson, Wade and Wilson singers of New Light Baptist, The Cleary Sisters, Starlight singers, Floresville Chorus, Spiritual Five of Jourdanton, Glorified Voices, Harmonizing Five, Mt. Olive, the New Sisters, Evangelist Singers, Brooks Gospel singers, the San Antonio District Chorus, St. Luke Methodist chorus, Mt. Olive Spiritual Singers, Charlottes (of Austin), Silver Light Singers (of Houston), The Gospel Travelers (of Seguin) and the Soul Stirrers – with their 22-year old lead singer Sam Cooke.

November 25 in San Antonio history…

The San Antonio Fire Company is established on this date, A. A. Lockwood, chief.

Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson cited 2,100 Jefferson High School students as “trustees of freedom” in a San Antonio speech keyed to Thanksgiving. He said he was thankful for the youth of the land.

Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez, D-Texas, has issued a call to the Texas Municipal Police Officers Association to raise funds for the family of police officer J. D. Tippitt, killed in Dallas. Gonzalez who is an honorary member of the association, sent communications to other members in an effort “to make sure that this family is not forgotten.”

October 1 in San Antonio history…

After one day, the city water conservation ordinance is rescinded.  The ordinance, setting up alternate lawn watering days for even and odd numbered houses, drew criticism from both a city official and a water board executive.  City Manager Ralph Winton said that the ordinance “wastes more water than it saves.”

Demolition begins on the Jefferson Hotel (right) at the corner of E. Houston and Jefferson streets. The property will become a surface parking lot which will be leased to Allright Parking, Inc.  The Jefferson Hotel was constructed in 1879 as the Bexar Hotel, which was considered one of the finest in the city at the turn of the century.  All but the street level of the hotel has been condemned since 1946.  The demolition will force five businesses to find new locations:  Parisian Ladies’ Shop, Kay’s Fine Linens, Allen Shoes, the Jefferson Café and Russell Stover Candies. (photo from the UTSA Photo Archives)

The Wolfson Building at Main and Commerce burns for a second time (January 24, 1904) and is completely destroyed.   Flames also damage the first seven floors of the adjacent Riverview Towers.

June 11 in San Antonio history…

President Franklin D. Roosevelt accompanied by Mrs. Roosevelt and Governor James V. Allred, stopped in San Antonio long enough to be given a rousing welcome by approximately 75,000 people who line the downtown streets.In an address at the Alamo, President Roosevelt eulogized the “Shrine of Texas Liberty.”

Stonewall Davis becomes the first African-American appointed to the San Antonio Public Library board.

San Antonio Junior Colleges desegregate. Hubert F. Lindsey & Lonnie Deadrick become the  first African-Americans to enroll at San Antonio College. E. C. Obenshain becomes the first Anglo to enroll at St. Philip’s College.

June 7 in San Antonio history…

A steam shovel is used for the first time in San Antonio in construction of Commercial National Bank.

The San Antonio Light reports that a “well-known Major General” has been demoted to Lt. Colonel for stating at a cocktail party in London, “On my honor, the invasion will begin no later than June 15.”  This former General, Henry J. F. Miller, had commanded the San Antonio Air Depot at Duncan Field until 1941. He was demoted by General Eisenhower, a former classmate at West Point.  Miller died in San Antonio five years later and is buried at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery.

The historic Nic Tengg home, owned by the Tengg family for over 101 years, has been sold to Joske’s of Texas as an addition to the store’s parking lot.  The two-story wood, brick and adobe house – long a landmark at 326 E. Crockett St. – will end its colorful career as it gives way to progress and a growing, bustling city.

December 23 in San Antonio history…

Moses Austin arrives in San Antonio where he will meet with Mexican authorities to ask permission for 300 Anglo families to settle in Texas.

More than 3,000 children are expected to participate in festivities around the towering Rotary tree on Alamo Plaza tonight.

Suffering from the wheezes, sneezes and general all-around breezes?  If so, forget it becuase you’re probably just another victim of San Antonio’s newest epidemic: “Christmas tree hay fever.”