Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Finest Hotel West of the Mississippi

Located in downtown San Antonio, only 100 yards from the site of the Alamo, is the Hotel Menger.

This historic hotel was constructed on the site of Menger′s brewery, the first brewery in Texas. When it opened on February 1, 1859, it was described as "the finest hotel west of the Mississippi River."

During our stop at the hotel, we just sat in the lobby and could easily see the qualities of the hotel that warranted that original description.

The stately columns shown in the two photos below rise three floors from the polished floors and antique Victorian furnishings and light fixtures to the skylight.

We could easily imagine such notables as Sam Houston, Generals Lee and Grant and Presidents McKinley, Taft and Eisenhower walking through the lobby.

It was here, in the Menger Bar, that Roosevelt recruited hard-living cowboys fresh from the Chisholm Trail, to his detachment of Rough Riders. Reportedly, Teddy would sit at the bar and as the cowboys came in, he would jovially offer them a free drink (or several) as he worked his recruiting strategy upon the unsuspecting cowpoke.

Many sobered up the next morning to find themselves on their way to basic military training at Fort Sam Houston before joining in the Spanish American War.

The original two-story building now boasts five stories, 316 rooms and unparalleled amenities. The courtyard provides an outdoor escape from the activity just outside the hotel in Alamo Plaza.

This mosaic offers a bit of color in the courtyard.
And, as befits a building over 150 years old, the Menger even has a few resident ghosts--the Hotel is said be called home or visited regularly by some 32 different entities.

Over the years, Roosevelt has reportedly been seen having a drink at the dark little barroom off the main lobby.

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