Blog Archives

August 13 in San Antonio history…

1923
Police Chief A. O. Van Riper and Traffic Capt. T. O. Miller supervised the inauguration of San Antonio’s new traffic light system, installed on Houston Street.

1947tv1947
For a full hour, three times daily and uninterrupted except for 15 minutes of cowboy music, the commercial use of television is being demonstrated on the fourth floor of Joske’s – the first display of television in the state of Texas (right).  Some of the spectators have made inquiries about the cost of the television machines and if they are for sale.  They can be purchased for about $350 ($3,793.95 in 2016 dollars!) and stored in the attic until television is here to stay.

1960
The Dallas Cowboys play their first game in the state of Texas right here in San Antonio – an exhibition game in Alamo Stadium against the newly relocated (from Chicago) St. Louis Cardinals.  The Cardinals, featuring Texas Aggies John David Crow &  Bobby Joe Conrad, win, 20-13.

June 30 in San Antonio history…

1905
The Annie Cotter Sullivan Memorial Library for children, located in the home of the Oblate Fathers on St. Mary’s Street, opens to patrons.  The library was established by John and William Sullivan in honor of their mother who passed away last November.

1917 – World War I
The use of Temple Beth-El has again been tendered the Jewish troops as an educational and social center. Rabbi Samuel Marks, whose religious and social welfare work, among the Jewish troops has been extensive, visited Camp Wilson Thursday and extended a cordial invitation to Jewish soldiers to attend services at Temple Beth-El, and, through the courtesy of the commanding officer, a notice to that effect was posted on the camp bulletin
boards.

1960
J. H. Morse, executive vice president and general manager of Joske’s of Texas, sends a letter to Joseph Luter, the president of the San Antonio chapter of the NAACP which states: “[I] just thought you would like to know what we have done and what we hope to do in connection with desegregation at Joske’s.  On Thursday, June 23, we desegregated our Chuck Wagon luncheonette.  Since then, operation has been going alone without any incidents of any kind.  Meanwhile, our Camellia Room is still closed, except for private parties, also on a desegregated basis, but by arrangement so that we can properly schedule such parties.  It is our hope that over the near term we can reactivate our Camellia Room, also on a desegregated basis.”

May 4 in San Antonio history…

1917
Adams & Adams were elected architects for the San Antonio School Board at an adjourned meeting of that body held today at noon in the school board offices. While Ralph D. Cameron, employed by the former board during the past year of intensive construction, and architect of the new Main Avenue High School, was highly recommended by the former board for the excellent work he had done, the present board chose to select a new name.

1956
The San Antonio Register reports on the recent removal of segregation signs from buses of the San Antonio Transit Company, saying, “Actually, although the signs had been in place until Wednesday, last week, segregation had not been enforced on city buses in a number of years.”

1960
Due to segregation protests for the sixth consecutive business day, Joske’s closes all three of their cafeterias to the public.  The Camellia Room and Chuck Wagon, which are for whites only, and the integrated basement cafeteria which will now be for Joske’s employees only.  Joske’s issues this statement:  “For 88 years Joske’s has, as a matter of basic policy, conformed to the established and accepted customs of this community. When those customs and practices change, Joske’s will change with them. Because of the continuing demonstrations involving the Camellia room and because Joske’s wishes its customers to shop in an atmosphere of harmony, all Joske restaurant service will be temporarily discontinued. In the meantime, Joske’s will continue to participate, as it has during the past several months, in all civic efforts to bring about a solution to the community problem affecting restaurant facilities.” 

April 30 in San Antonio history…

City Brewery - 1884

1884
The City Brewery (Pearl) holds its grand opening.

1960
A number of African-Americans boycott Joske’s to protest the segregation of the store’s restaurants, the Chuck Wagon and Camelia Room.

April 28 in San Antonio history…

1945
The Kansas City Monarchs play the second game of a two-game series with the Cincinnati-Indianapolis Clowns in a Negro League matchup at Tech Field today.  The Clowns win again, 8-4.

1958San Antonio Express, 29 April 1953
Two tornadoes (later rated F3 and F4) strike Bexar County in the area of Helotes, killing two people and injuring twenty.

1960
Joske’s closes the Chuckwagon and Camelia Room restaurants when African-American customers ask for service there.

March 24 in San Antonio history…

1955
An ordinance passed today by the City Council says interstate truck traffic will no longer be allowed to pass through downtown San Antonio.

1960
Blues legend Etta James performs at Eastwood Country Club.

2004
The Judson School District board votes to name the district’s second high school for 1979 Judson High graduate Lt. Col. Karen Wagner, who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon.

March 16 in San Antonio history…

1956
City Council promised a delegation of 12 Negroes that action would be taken on the repeal of the “Juneteenth ordinance” from last year designating all but two city swimming pools for whites only. The repeal will come before April 14, the day that San Pedro Pool is scheduled to open.  San Pedro is one of the nine segregated pools.  The repeal ordinance drafted by City Attorney Cadena is also expected to remove any segregation in city buildings during public functions, but will not affect the Alamo Heights swimming pool, which is on city-owned property leased by that municipality.

1960
Six downtown stores and a city-wide drugstore integrate lunch counters and cafeterias. The stores were: Woolworth’s, Kress, Neisner’s, Grant’s, Green’s, McCrory’s Variety Store and Sommer’s Drug Stores.

1971
The Fourth Army, headquartered at Ft. Sam Houston since 1944, is abolished and absorbed into the Fifth Army and the headquarters will move from Chicago to Ft. Sam Houston.  The area covered will span from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

March 12 in San Antonio history…

1879
Groos Bank and Store is opened for business.  This building, at the corner of Commerce and Navarro (then known as Groos Alley) is first building specifically for banking in San Antonio.

1917
Headed by Assistant Fire Chief Goetz, fifteen firemen lifted a roadster automobile, owned by S. Raba, curio dealer, from the San Antonio river a t 8:45 o’clock this morning. The car, while being operated by the owner, plunged into the stream from an alley between Commerce and Market Streets.

1960
The San Antonio Youth Council of the NAACP sends out letters to six local businesses requesting that they desegregate their lunch counters.  Harry V. Burns, state youth director for the NAACP, says the plan is to work out a desegregation plan that everyone could observe at once, thus putting no one in the position of being first.  Burns indicated that unless Negroes are seated and served generally, they will plan at this Thursday’s meeting a series of sitdown campaigns in the manner of those conducted recently in other southern cities.

January 8 in San Antonio history…

1900
In a brief telegram authorized by Mr. Andrew Carnegie, directed to Mrs. D. F. Ainsworth, president of the San Antonio Public Library; Mr. Carnegie offers to give the sum of $50,000 for the establishment of a library here, provided the city will supply an isolated site for a building and $5,000 yearly for the maintenance of the institution. The formal proposition embodying the conditions usually imposed by Mr. Carnegie in such cases has been forwarded by mail and may be expected soon.

1960
Construction begins on San Antonio’s first mall, North Star Mall, the fifth shopping mall in the nation.

1978
The English punk band, Sex Pistols, play a notorious gig at the country & western nightclub, Randy’s Rodeo – the third stop on a seven date U.S. tour.  The band starts off playing songs from “Never Mind the Bollocks,” released only three months earlier, but lead singer Johnny Rotten nearly incites a riot after insulting the C&W faction of the audience.  The band is pelted by beer cans and food and one audience member is hit by Sid Vicious’s bass guitar but the show continues.  The band would never tour the U.S. again.

November 19 in San Antonio history…

1955
An early-bird collector for a loan company learned that the worm turns, especially before daylight. A collector from a loan company, who paid a pre-dawn call upon an arrears client, was routed by a volley of shots from inside the house. Police advised the collector to keep his calls within accepted business hours.

1960
Joske’s debuts their Christmas “Fantasy Land” on the fourth floor of their main store downtown. (Photo courtesy of the Institute of Texan Cultures.)

1977
San Antonio rock favorites Legs Diamond, Budgie and Heyoka play Municipal Auditorium