Biannual Roundup: Thanks for following posts to and fro

Haunting the Graveyard: Unearthing the Story of the Coker Settlement

Know it appears suspicious that a post about the author’s book that finally made it into print popped up as the most-read by you during the past year, but you actually were that kind.

Of course, the controversial redevelopment plans for Alamo Plaza still remain of grave concern for those who love San Antonio. Will the plaza be fenced in? Will the Texas General Land Office repurpose the buildings on the west side of the plaza as a new museum or bulldoze those important historic landmarks? So many design issues remain unresolved as we enter 2020.

The author always hope postcards sent back from other places help tease out the boulevardier in you, seducing you into traveling more and serving as helpful guides when you do.

The following list represents the posts you clicked most in 2019, with the number in parentheses representing rankings from six months ago.

  1. Postcard from the Coker Settlement: Following long gestation, book finally due to arrive, 2019
  2. Has Alamo Plaza fallen in the hands of ‘reverential’ caretakers? 2019 (2)
  3. How’s the GLO managing Alamo Plaza? Welcome to the faux Alamo. 2019 (3)

    Hey, GLO. No faux Alamo.
  4. Postcard from Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy: History with a horse hanging overhead, 2019, (5)
  5. The Madarasz murder mystery: Might Helen haunt Brackenridge Park? 2012 (7)
  6. The danger of playing hardball with our Library: Bookworms tend to vote, 2014
  7. Postcard from Oaxaca, Mexico: ‘I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.’ 2019
  8. Postcard from Mexico City: The Lord of Poison and potent relics, 2017
  9. Postcard from Sevilla, Spain: Foods steeped in tradition, 2019 (11)

    Boquerones, fried anchovies, at El Rinconcillo in Sevilla, Spain
  10. Postcard from Sevilla, Spain: The most celebrated mother in Spain, 2019
  11. Postcard from Malaga, Spain: Street Art, Part I, 2019
  12. Postcard from San Antonio Botanical Garden: Walking across Texas without leaving home, 2019
From the streets of Malaga, Spain, pulpo y vino

Thanks for dropping by. Would love to see comments anytime.

I spy what you are reading here….

A 1911 postcard shows the beauty of the land in Brackenridge Park formerly owned by Helen Madarasz.
A 1911 postcard shows the beauty of the land in Brackenridge Park formerly owned by Helen Madarasz.

Time for the semiannual big-brother spy report on what posts you have been reading most during the past 12 months. As usual, you are all over the map, seemingly encouraging me to continue randomly sending postcards from San Antonio and back home no matter where we wander.

The mysterious murder of Helen Madarasz in Brackenridge Park rose to the top, which makes me wonder why ghost-hunters have not latched onto the story of Martha Mansfield. There are still some who pine to hear the San Antonio Song, a post from five years ago, but a few new posts squeezed into the top dozen. Hope some of you have found your way to dine in our favorite restaurants in Oaxaca, but my personal favorite entry about food in Oaxaca is on grasshoppers.

The number in parentheses represents the rankings from six months ago:

  1. The Madarasz Murder Mystery: Might Helen Haunt Brackenridge Park?, 2012 (2)
  2. Artist Foundation unleashes another round of creative fervor, 2015
  3. The danger of playing hardball with our Library: Bookworms tend to vote, 2014 (1)
  4. Remembering everyday people: Our rural heritage merits attention, 2014 (5)
  5. Seeing San Fernando Cathedral in a new light…, 2014 (7)
  6. Please put this song on Tony’s pony and make it ride away, 2010 (3)
  7. Picturing the City’s Past Just Got Easier, 2014 (6)
  8. How would you feel about the Alamo with a crewcut?, 2011 (10)
  9. That Crabby Old Colonel Cribby Condemned the River to Years of Lowlife, 2013 (11)
  10. Weather Forecast: 11 Days of Confetti Ahead, 2015
  11. Photographs from the 1800s place faces on the names in Zephaniah Conner’s Bible, 2014
  12. Postcard from Oaxaca, Mexico: Favorites on the food front, 2015

Thanks for dropping by every once in a while. Love hearing your feedback.



Picturing the City’s Past Just Got Easier

sacs-libraryTucked away on the top floor of the Anton Wulff House, the headquarters of the San Antonio Conservation Society, is a library. This library is stuffed with all things San Antonio – 3,900 books, historic maps, oral histories, 13,000 photographs – tracing the city’s past.

Although the library is only open 24 hours a week, this valuable resource has thrown open its doors to researchers everywhere. Not only is the collection catalog online so researchers know what is available, but 475 of the library’s historical photographs have been scanned in for viewing. These are photos difficult to share even in person because they require white-glove treatment for preservation purposes.

The society’s entire Raba Collection has been digitalized. Taken or reproduced by Bohemian-born photographer Ernst W. Raba (1874-1951), these images document the physical attributes of the city, and some of its citizens, between the 1850s and 1930s. Additional rare images now available online focus on events, from everyday scenes to historic ones.


According to Librarian Beth Standiford in the Conservation Society’s newsletter, The Preservation Advocate, this first step toward making the library’s collection more accessible was made possible with Capital Club funds. These gifts are provided by “friends” and include recent large donations from H-E-B; GLI Distributing, Inc.; Valero Energy Foundation; Jabby Lowe; Ann Griffith Ash; Kathleen and Curtis Gunn, Jr.; The Steve and Marty Hixon Family Foundation; Karen and Tim Hixon; The Joan and Herb Kelleher Charitable Foundation; Patsy Pittman Light; and JoAnn Boone and Rio San Antonio Cruises.

The Capital Club allowed the society to hire intern Elizabeth Pople to scan these initial photographs, add them to the online catalog and improve descriptions of them. As additional funds are available, the library will enter these into the template for uploading to the University of North Texas’ Portal to Texas History to broaden access. Future plans also include using Virtual Exhibit software to create online photo exhibits and to begin digitizing the 1982 San Antonio Downtown Historic Resources Survey.

Part of the purpose of the San Antonio Conservation Society is:

…to keep the history of Texas legible and intact to educate the public, especially the youth of today and tomorrow with knowledge of our inherited regional values.

This project certainly fits the bill by making a giant leap in the number of people who can be made aware of the rich heritage of the city. Awareness of San Antonio’s historical assets leads to appreciation of them. If they are appreciated, they are preserved without question – no need to resort to expensive legal battles or to throw oneself in front of bulldozers Wanda-Ford-style.

As someone who spends much time digging through historical graveyards of all kinds, my hat’s off in gratitude to contributors to the Capital Club at all levels. Good friends can be hard to find, but here’s hoping the society finds additional generous ones to further these efforts.