Sunday, November 19, 2017

Teddy Roosevelt and the Roughriders in San Antonio






  Teddy Roosevelt was the assistant secretary of the navy when he first thought to form a cavalry regiment of Wild West types to fight the Spaniards in Cuba. The "Rough Riders" ended up being a mix of westerners and East Coast Ivy Leaguers. Some of the frontiersman included "Rocky Mountain Bill," "Rattlesnake Pete," "Lariat Ned," and "Bronco George," a man who had already downed five men. The westerners drew less attention than the nattily dressed, refined East Coast college educated men, who stood out in roughshod San Antonio.

Contrary to popular belief, Roosevelt was not the commanding officer of the Rough Riders. Feeling that he lacked enough military experience, the assistant secretary chose Colonel Leonard Wood, who had seen action in the Indian campaigns, as the head man. Roosevelt became a lieutenant colonel under Wood. Roosevelt arrived on May 15, 1898, and recruited members for his crew from the lobby of the Menger Hotel. The bar at the hotel was the site of many impassioned speeches by the future president. The Menger Bar is still intact and has been renamed the Roosevelt Bar.

Plaque outside the Mender Hotel Bar where Teddy Roosevelt recruited Rough Riders.  The Bar was later renamed the Roosevelt Bar and looks the same today as it did when Roosevelt visited. 



The First United States Volunteer Cavalry trained on the site of Riverside Golf Course, near the water hazard on the sixteenth hole. On May 30, 1898, the volunteer cavalry left by train for Florida, then they went on to Cuba. The Rough Riders suffered many casualties, due to both war and disease. After three months, the Rough Riders were disbanded. Lt. Colonel Roosevelt went on to bigger and better endeavors.





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The Book that Inspired the Blog, now in its 3rd Edition

I LOVE this book . . . Has a lot of great stories from the best city in the world!! . . . Wonderful and surprising facts . . . Thought you knew this city? Better read this . .  . 
Great for natives and transplants like me.



The Travis Club

Intrigue + Mystery + Romance + San Antonio

"What a surprise! . . .a page-turner . . . extremely well-written and well researched. . . I highly recommend this book to all mystery lovers . . . a great read. . . couldn't wait to find out what would happen next . . . I love a book you can't put down, and this certainly fit the bill . . . very engaging . . .  I really couldn't stop reading it . . . a fantastic and completely believable story"

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

How San Antonio Got The Spurs



In 1967, the Dallas Chaparrals where one of the founding teams on the upstart American Basketball Association. The team had never drawn well, averaging less than 3,000 fans a night. By 1973, the owners were desperately looking for a buyer.
Without a single offer, the Chaparrals turned to San Antonians Red McCombs and Angelo Drossos. They offered them one of the most unique deals in all of sports. The leased the team to San Antonio for two years. At the end on two years, they could own the team outright for two payments of $800,000.
   The team, renamed the Spurs, had its own attendance woes. It didn’t improve in San Antonio until the Spurs bought the contract of a skinny young player named George Gervin. With Gervin, the team quickly improved and attendance rocketed by the middle of the first season. 



   Drossos then contacted the Dallas owners with a bit of a bluff. He told them he had run out of capital and they could have the team back. The last thing they want was the team back because they’d have to find a new buyer. They struck a new deal. San Antonio could have the entire team immediately for one payment of $800,000.
        In 1976, the Spurs along with 3 other ABA teams were absorbed by the NBA. 


   In 2014 the Spurs won their 5th Championship. The average value of a NBA franchise is now at $630 Million. 



The original inside of Hemisfair Arena, before the roof was literally raised to add an upper deck

The roof being raised on Hemisfair Arena to add an upper deck


The NBA's Spurs 'Bruise Brother's' Poster from 1980


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San Antonio Uncovered - The Book






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"This detailed book is at once a tourist's friend and a native's reference. Rybczyk says it was written for the curious native (whatever that is) and secondly for the newly arrived who may wonder "What's so special about San Antonio?" Notice who it was written for first.
Every landmark, legend and myth of San Antonio is here - from the ugliest statue to the histories of the railroad stations. It's a smorgasbord of overlooked and under-appreciated jewels from all over the city. The obligatory shrines and sites are here too - every one of them. Throughout the book's pages Mark employs the rarest type of humor - humor with genuine affection.
Mark corrects the old saw that said San Antonio is "a small town wanting to be a big city." It is, as he says, "A big town that desperately wants to be a small town." With this book as your guide, it's almost as though San Antonio gets its wish."

John  Troessler   Texas Escape






The Travis Club

Intrigue + Mystery + Romance + San Antonio


"What a surprise! . . .a page-turner . . . extremely well-written and well researched. . . I highly recommend this book to all mystery lovers . . . a great read. . . couldn't wait to find out what would happen next . . . I love a book you can't put down, and this certainly fit the bill . . . very engaging . . .  I really couldn't stop reading it . . . a fantastic and completely believable story"


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Monday, April 3, 2017

Sam, the Space Monkey - From Outer Space to the San Antonio Zoo.



It took me a while, but I finally found a photo of Sam the Space Monkey. Sam went from a trip to outer space to a n extended stint at the San Antonio Zoo



   Sam was the first Texan to travel into space. Born in 1957 at the University of Texas, Sam, a rhesus monkey, was designated for the U.S. space program because he was a stand-out at the U.T. Balcones Research Center. On December 4, 1959, Sam was launched into space from Wallops Island, Virginia. After a seventeen-hour countdown, Sam was launched fifty-five miles into space and spent a total of twelve minutes there.
   After his famous flight, Sam was brought to the School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base, where he was put under medical scrutiny. The space chimp made the cover of Parade magazine in 1960, but his fame was short-lived when John Glenn became more popular.
   Sam was kept at Brooks AFB for a mere eleven years when the air force figured they had gathered enough evidence on the effects of twelve minutes of space flight on monkeys. Sam then moved to a cage at the San Antonio Zoo where he was given a companion, though he was now too fat to mate. A plaque on his cage told zoo goers of the accomplishments of Sam.


   The space pioneer passed away on September 19, 1978. The chimp's body was taken back to Brooks for an autopsy, where more was learned of the effects of weightlessness.

As Featured in the book San Antonio Uncovered

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Construction on The Tower of the Americas

  A recent discussion of the Tower of the Americas drew disbelief when I mentioned that the observation deck was built on the ground and later raised up the elevator shaft when completed.

  I found this photo (courtesy of the San Antonio Express News) that shows the day the Roundhouse was raised to the top of the tower, shortly before the start of the 1968 World's Fair



On our recent Travel With Hawkeye Podcast I shared my observations and comparisons of the Tower of the Americas and Seattle's Space Needle