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The Menger Hotel
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Davy Crockett and his Volunteers manned the weakest portion of the Alamo defenses, and inflicted the heaviest damage in the direction they faced. They were deadly marksmen and the Mexican soldiers who charged their position paid dearly. It was in area of death that William Menger first constructed his brewery.

Then, 23 years after the Battle of the Alamo, in the area where Crockett and his men faced, William Menger added on to his existing brewery, the first in Texas, and boarding house by constructing a hotel to accommodate his customers. The hotel was opened on February 1st, 1859. The hotel continually expanded and soon became known as one of the premier hotels in the Southwest.

Teddy Roosevelt visited the hotel several times and recruited his Rough Riders in the hotels bar. Other dignitaries such as Sam Houston, Robert E. Lee, Presidents Grant, McKinley, Taft, Eisenhower, Roosevelt and Clinton, have visited and/or stayed at the Menger Hotel. Stars like Mae West, John Wayne, Bob Dylan and Babe Ruth have stayed here as well.

The hotel has more than just famous visitors, it has some rather permanent inhabitants that have become rather infamous, and those are the ghosts that haunt the Menger.

The King Ranch Suite, on the second floor is home to its namesake, the ghost of Captain Richard King, one time owner of the King Ranch in Texas. King loved the Menger hotel, when he learned that he was physically ill he booked his favorite room at the hotel and passed away in that room. The bed is said to be the exact same bedframe that he passed away in. Cpt King's funeral was held in the hotel's parlor. The room has since been remodeled, the door moved from where it once was, which his ghost does not pay attention to and still moves through the wall where the original door was. This appears to be a residual haunt, as the ghost moves about through old doorways and walls, as if it is unaware of the current surroundings.

One of the ghosts that is seen most often is that of Sallie White, a young maid that worked and allegedly died at the hotel. Sallie staid at the hotel after having an argument with her husband, but he came into the hotel on the next day, on March 28th, 1876 and brutally attacked her. Badly hurt, she hung on for two days, suffering from her injuries, finally succumbing to them and passing away. The Menger Hotel took care of their employee and paid for her funeral, which cost $32 at the time of her passing. Sallie's now seen wandering the third floor hallways, apparently still working at the place she was most comfortable. She is usually seen carrying towels and headed for places unknown, wearing a bandanna on her head and maid clothes from that date and time.

Another ghost that has been seen is that of a man wearing buckskin, a hotel guest emerged from the bathroom after showering to discover the ghost standing asking someone unseen, "Are you gonna stay, or are you gonna go?" which he repeated three times and disappeared. The identity of this ghostly visage is unknown but it reminded me of the story of Louis Moses Rose, otherwise known as the coward of the Alamo, the only man who did not cross Colonel Travis line drawn in the earth and fight on, the only man who ran away under the cover of darkness. Is this the ghost that was seen in the Menger?

The number of other ghosts seen in the Menger is long, numbering as high as 43. From an older woman knitting in the lobby, a young blond boy who plays in guests room while they are sleeping, to the sounds of marching and the sighting of military boots, like those worn by the Mexican soldiers who attacked the Alamo.

The Menger and the area around it has seen both death and life. Some of the life lived to its fullest. It's on the national registry of historical hotels and one of the most interesting haunted areas in San Antonio, filled with history. The hotel, unlike some others in San Antonio, is willing to share and talk about its haunted past. If you go there feel free to ask questions, and try their famous Mango ice cream, it's delicious.


Updated January 19th, 2010