Considered one of the five most unique cities in America, San Antonio is celebrating its tricentennial this year. Home of the Alamo, River Walk, Spurs basketball and Tower of the Americas, the city received her name from St. Anthony of Padua. A group of Spanish explorers came to this settlement happened to be the same day as St. Anthony de Padua’s feast day, June 13.
It was named the most romantic city in America by Amazon based on the number of romantic books and movies purchased.
The first five air conditioned buildings in America were located in San Antonio. The first air-conditioned office building was the Milam Building, 1928; the first air-conditioned bank was Frost Bank, 1928, hotel was St. Anthony, 1936, and the first air-conditioned Catholic Church was St. Cecilia’s, 1950.
San Fernando Cathedral, the oldest church in Texas, which was completed in 1749.
Pope John Paul II deemed San Antonio the “most Catholic” city in the country.
Kiddie Park is the oldest children’s amusement park in the country.
SeaWorld San Antonio is the largest marine-life park in the entire world.
The San Antonio Zoo was the first in the country to breed the endangered whooping crane.
The beautiful San Pedro Springs Park is actually the second oldest park in the U.S.
About 35 million visitors enjoy to the San Antonio metropolitan area each year.
The San Antonio River is 240 miles long and crosses five counties. All five original Spanish mission are on or near the river. The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is also part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1978, four Spanish missions became part of the National Park System: Mission Concepción, Mission San José, Mission San Juan Capistrano and Mission Espada.
There are over 50 Bill Miller barbeque restaurants in Bexar County.
Even though H-E-B headquarters is in San Antonio, the original location was opened in Kerrville (and named the CC Butt Grocery Store).
Whataburger is headquartered in San Antonio.
San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the country.
Dominique Ramirez was crowned Miss San Antonio in 2010. After a new board of directors took away her crown in the middle of her reign, she fought the Miss America organization to win her title back.
By 1773, San Antonio was the capital of Spanish Texas.
In December of 1836, the new Republic of Texas established Bexar County after the defeat of Mexican forces at San Jacinto.
The McNay Art Museum was the first modern art museum in Texas.
In 1990, there was a naming contest and the Alamodome could have been called Megadome, Fiesta Dome or Texadome.
In 1972, La Villita became a part of the National Register of Historic Places.
The first Fiesta began in 1891 and has flourished into a multi-day, citywide party.
The first motion picture to win an Academy Award, Wings, was filmed in San Antonio.
Luminaria is an annual evening public arts festival that spreads across various San Antonio neighborhoods to celebrate the arts.
The oldest industrial building in Bexar County, 1878 Pumphouse #1, is still standing in Brackenridge Park.
The San Antonio Spurs started out as The Dallas Chaparrals.
Shaquille O’Neil learned to play basketball at Cole High School in San Antonio.
The San Antonio Missions baseball team mascot is a jalapeño named Ballapeño, and before that it was a puffy taco named Henry!
The first Church’s Chicken restaurant opened in San Antonio.
Gatorade was invented by a San Antonio native, Robert Cade.
In 1982 Ozzy Osbourne was banned from playing in the city for ten years after relieving himself on the Cenotaph in front of the Alamo.
Notable movie stars, entertainers, and Hollywood producers are originally from San Antonio. The list includes Carol Burnett, Joan Crawford, Henry Thomas, Jared Padalecki, Michelle Rodriguez, Mark Dennis, Mike Nesmith (Monkees), Flaco Jimenez, Augie Meyer, Bruce McGill and Steve Howey.
“Deep Throat,” the Watergate whistleblower source for Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein that eventually led to the downfall of President Richard Nixon, once upon a time lived in San Antonio. William Mark Felt, Sr. worked in San Antonio for the local FBI Field Office prior to becoming Associate Director of that organization. After more than 30 years of secrecy, Felt revealed himself on May 31, 2005. The story ultimately became even more well-known in the movie “All The President’s Men.”
A year before the Battle of the Alamo, David Crockett became a hero, when on January 30, 1835 he helped restrain and disarmed a would be assassin to President Andrew Jackson.
Jackson was leaving the U.S. Capitol out of the East Portico after attending the funeral of South Carolina Representative Warren R. Davis, when an unemployed house painter named Richard Lawrence shot a pistol at the president.
The pistol misfired, but Lawrence pulled out a second pistol. Jackson pushed his cane toward Lawrence as Crockett disarmed him.
Lawrence was institutionalized for being “insane,” and never faced a day in prison for the assassination attempt.
By the end of the year, Crockett told the U.S. Congress they could “All go to hell. I’m going to Texas.”
Jack Handey, of Saturday Night Live and “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey” was born in San Antonio in 1949. He once said he lost his job writing for the San Antonio Express-News for “an article that offended local car dealerships.” Later he started writing comic material for Steve Martin and SNL’s Lorne Michaels.
Much of Elvis Presley’s movie “Elvis On Tour” was filmed at the Hemisfair Arena in April 1972. Elvis made appearances in San Antonio (April 1956, October 1956, April 1972, October 1974, and August 1976.