“I have no doubt of the time being close at hand when I will be rewarded for letting my tongue speak what my heart thinks.”Davy Crockett, August 11, 1835
I knew Davy Crockett as the King of the Wild Frontier, but didn’t know he was in the Battle of the Alamo. Growing up in Canada, I knew nothing of the Alamo except the most basic of facts, and what I remember about Davy Crockett, I most likely learned from Saturday morning cartoons imported from the USA.
When my ghost-fascinated friend offered to put us up for a night at the historic Menger Hotel in San Antonio, I jumped at the chance! When her purpose of doing so was to go ghost hunting in the most haunted hotel in Texas…. I agreed… because there’s no such thing as ghosts…. right?
I didn’t know very much about San Antonio, but once I learned the Alamo was there I was excited to learn a little more about the history of the SW United States.
I parked my trailer & truck at a campground south of the city and headed into San Antonio in my friend’s more urban-friendly car.
Ask about ghosts while checking into the Menger and you will receive a pamphlet with guest stories of sightings over the years. We secured a room in the oldest, most historic, portion of the hotel on a floor known for Sallie White sightings.
Sallie was a chambermaid at the hotel when she met her untimely death in March of 1876. Shot by her jealous partner, she made it back to the Menger where she eventually expired two days later. Her attacker left town and never faced trial for her death. The Menger Hotel paid her burial costs and still has the $32 receipt as proof.
My friend hoped we would see her and I secretly did… and didn’t… hope so too.
Our room was definitely a piece of history… the bathroom was located beside the bed and had a door that opened outward into the room. A step up and we were in a bathroom that must have been added after the discovery of flushies and running water and yet it looked historic in its own right. The room’s ceilings were high and the windows were framed in fabric replicated from an earlier century.
It’s odd I have no pictures of the room! I photograph everything. Below is the only photo I could find of our historic lodging.
After dropping our luggage at our room, we headed out to explore the neighborhood and found ourselves wandering along the River Walk, a lively area situated along an urban waterway. If you find yourself in the San Antonio vicinity, don’t miss this treasure.
Here’s a little history on how the River Walk came to be in San Antonio:
We wandered around taking in the sights and grabbed a drink or two from the establishments along the water.
We returned to the Menger, where I tried ceviche for the first time in the formal dining room. Our waitress was excited to share a few more ghost stories that had passed among the kitchen and wait staff at the hotel.
Afterward, we moved to the Menger Bar where we were shown a bullet hole in the mahogany paneling, said to be from the era of Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders and purportedly left by Teddy himself! The bar is designed after the British House of Lords with two floors and also is known for a variety of ghostly appearances. My bar photos are also strangely missing, as are my pictures of the lobby and center garden!
We booked a local ghost tour of the area and met out front of the Alamo, which just happens to be right next door to the Menger Hotel Bar and down the block from the Crockett Hotel.
This was the first ghost tour in which we were provided a handy dandy apparition device to detect small changes in the electromagnetic energy (aka ghosts!). Our tour guide trekked us from the Alamo to several buildings in the near vicinity, through the River Walk, and shared tales of the paranormal and mysterious actions of those involved in the untimely demise of many San Antonio residents. Imagine our surprise (not!) when several of the stories took place in our evening’s abode which wound us up for a night of (un)restful sleep.
My friend reluctantly returned her EMF Meter and we retired to our hotel room for the evening.
Or maybe we wandered around the halls of the Menger Hotel in our PJs in the wee hours of the morning.
We never saw another soul… alive or dead!
After reluctantly crawling into bed, I finally drifted off, expecting the bathroom door would fly open at any time.
I awoke the next morning rested, simultaneously disappointed and relieved, that I hadn’t made Sallie’s or any other dead person’s acquaintance.
A late breakfast may have included margaritas and nachos on the River Walk…
We took a boat tour along the river which was a nice way to see the entire River Walk area.
Visiting the Alamo itself was a surprise. I’m not sure what I expected. Everyone has seen the iconic front facade and heard the words “Remember the Alamo!” but I didn’t know much else. I learned that much of Texas, and what is now New Mexico, Arizona, and California was initially claimed by Mexico.
The following is my abridged interpretation of the historic events I gathered from my visit to the Alamo.
The Mexicans, like other entities trying to settle the New World, gave land away in exchange for loyalty and future taxes. Those who settled these new areas were to trade within the country that gave them the land but, instead, the ranchers found it easier to travel to New Orleans than to the more distant Mexico City.
The ranchers felt the Mexican government was out of touch and too far away, which ultimately led to Texas’ War for Independence from Mexico.
In an effort to begin emancipation from Mexico, a group of volunteer soldiers took possession of the Franciscan Mission, now known as the Alamo, and held it until February 23, 1836, when THOUSANDS of Mexican soldiers arrived and took the Alamo back. It was not an easy feat for them despite the fact there were only 200 volunteer soldiers holding them off. They stood their ground for 13 days despite the extreme odds! These brave men, including Davy Crockett, hoped reinforcements would come. They never did and the group finally succumbed after nearly 2 weeks.
Texans won their freedom later that year and remained a sovereign state for almost 10 years before joining the United States of America.
We may not have seen any ghosts during our 24 hours in San Antonio but I definitely felt the past everywhere we visited.
My missing pictures of the Menger Hotel interiors are another San Antonio mystery left unsolved…