Stories By Paula Allen

  • Readers ask for help with downtown ‘orphan’ pavers The Brick Walk was a 1989-1991 downtown fundraiser that let people purchase engraved commemorative brick pavers. But since that time, some of the bricks have been moved or lost.
  • Public improvements spurred building boom in Olmos Park Herman Charles “H.C.” Thorman developed Olmos Park Estates and Olmos Park Terrace after the Olmos Dam and the road crossing it were built.
  • Carved stone marks change to old stage stop A fragment of an inscribed rock turned up during work being done at the Huebner-Onion Homestead.
  • Origins of Hill Country church camp tied to WWII escape Camp Capers, located along the Guadalupe River, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
  • Wartime park catered to soldiers in training Ron-de-Voo Park was a project of San Antonio businessmen. Although the “new amusement center” was mainly for the soldiers, it also had events for residents and tourists.
  • Donkey barn served city’s youngest trail riders Built in 1920 in the north section of Brackenridge Park, the donkey barn now is owned by the city and leased by the San Antonio Zoo.
  • Fiesta parade photos offer a blast from the past A reader’s father gave him a portfolio of photos taken of the Battle of Flowers and Fiesta Flambeau parades from the rooftop of the Vogue department store.
  • Local riding instructor had ties to Hawaiian royalty Aina Wodehouse Olsmith also served as chairwoman of the Battle of Flowers Parade Cavalcade Committee and started the nation’s first mounted Girl Scout troop.
  • When downtown S.A. had an ‘Automotive Row’ San Antonio got its first “horseless carriage” in 1899. The city soon became a hub for dealerships and auto-repair shops.
  • Try, try again: Goodwill had rocky start in San Antonio Goodwill appeared to be “ready to operate” in San Antonio in 1936, but it wasn’t until after World War that the local branch actually began operations.
  • Tokens tied Alamo Downs racetrack to Texas history Alamo Downs operated as a racetrack from 1934-1937, during a brief window of opportunity for parimutuel betting on horse racing in Texas.
  • Canary Islander descendants return to San Fernando Cathedral Canary Islanders arrived at San Antonio de Bejar, helped establish civil government and then went to work setting up San Fernando Cathedral. More than 270 years later, a descendant was baptized at the cathedral.
  • Private swimming pool started controversy in San Antonio The response to columns on the Terrell Wells pool and driver’s licenses helped push the column toward what it is today.
  • At downtown YWCA, boys and girls took plunge together A reader recalled taking coed swim classes at the downtown YMCA. Most likely, it was the YWCA, where boys and girls could take the plunge together.
  • YMCA led the movement for youth swim lessons Downtown YMCA facility had a state-of-the-art swimming pool that was described as “the magnet of the institution.”
  • Importance of Austin Highway night spot was relative Kline’s Dinner Club wasn’t particularly long-lived or distinctive, but it’s significant by association with a well-known local family in the hospitality business.
  • Cold War’s fallout shelter boom burned out fast In the early 1960s, interest in fallout shelters was strong in San Antonio. When new buildings of note were announced, such as the Wonderland mall, the presence of a fallout shelter was considered to be a marketing advantage.
  • Local restaurant supplied S. Side school’s Wednesday lunch Family lore says it was Bob Jones, father of Bud Jones, who supplied a hot lunch of cheese enchiladas with chili sauce to students at a Harlandale ISD elementary school.
  • The story of Enchilada Wednesday in S.A. SAISD was first in the area to give its students inexpensive food at midday, and Mexican food was there from the start.
  • Monty’s in Olmos Park was more teen hangout than drugstore Hundreds showed up at Montgomery’s drugstore on Friday and Saturday nights during its 1930s heyday, sometimes having egg fights waged by “two jellybean armies.”