Biannual Roundup: A stilled keyboard and passport-less boulevardiers

Above: Who knows what happened to the Candy King’s secret recipe for pecan pralines that filled this box a century ago?

Although no comments indicate followers suffer from withdrawal as my blog has remained silent the past two months, surely you have missed posts a little?

During the past 12 months, Alamobsessive posts continue to attract interest, as do ghosts and updates from our wanderings. Particularly pleased that readers seem to enjoy some of the side stories – “Candy King” and “Rabbit Holes” – gleaned from the pages of An Ostrich-Plumed Hat, and Yes, She Shot Him Dead.

The 1911 filming of “The Immortal Alamo” at Hot Wells Resort was among the high points of San Antonio’s efforts to become an industry star.
Continue reading “Biannual Roundup: A stilled keyboard and passport-less boulevardiers”

If ghosts RSVP-ed, would they skip the party?

As Fiesta San Antonio returns to life this year, things have changed around the Alamo. Long the heart of the party, Alamo Plaza falls under new more exacting standards of proper etiquette.

According to Scott Huddleston of the San Antonio Express-News:

Fiesta’s two big street parades are set to resume in April, but people will need to quiet down when passing through Alamo Plaza, as it is now part of the historic site’s ‘reverent zone.’ Air horns, amplified music from floats and ‘shouting and other celebratory behavior’ will be prohibited for parade participants and discouraged for the public….

Continue reading “If ghosts RSVP-ed, would they skip the party?”

A sweet San Antonio mystery: Where did the Candy King’s recipe go?

Flip side of above postcard: “The Mexican Candy seller is a typical sight on the streets of San Antonio. Dressed in his native garb and selling a kind of pecan candy peculiar to Mexico which he alone seems to have the secret of making more toothsome than anyone else.”

Pecan pralines that melt in your mouth. The perfect finishing taste after overdosing your Mexican food with spoonful after spoonful of addictive salsa and jalapenos.

In 1910, there was one praline vendor who dominated the market in San Antonio, Tomas Contreras (1847-1912). I “met” him when I was researching my recent book, An Ostrich-Plumed Hat, and Yes, She Shot Him Dead. I stumbled across a full-page obituary for the Candy King in one of the local newspapers.

Tomas was born in Guanajuato and arrived in San Antonio with his mother Juanita in 1877. In the kitchen of their rented house on Matamoros Street, Juanita made what everybody claimed was the best pecan candy. She would dispatch Tomas to sell it downtown. He would take his basket and head to Alamo Plaza near the Menger Hotel. The Menger soon invited him to sell inside the lobby, positioned next to their popular blind harpist.

Continue reading “A sweet San Antonio mystery: Where did the Candy King’s recipe go?”