San Antonio Sights

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Menger Hotel Review

After you visit the Alamo, stop by this adjacent 1859 property. It's San Antonio's most historic lodging, and offers a history book full of "who's who"s who've slept here. Some of its most famous guests include Civil War generals Robert E. Lee and William Sherman, Mount Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum (who had a studio at the hotel), playwright Oscar Wilde, and author William Sydney Porter (O. Henry), who mentioned the hotel in several of his short stories. As legend has it, William Menger built the Victorian hotel to accommodate the many carousers who frequented his brewery, which stood on the same site. Step inside the hotel to see its mahogany bar, a precise replica of the pub in London's House of Lords. Here cattlemen closed deals with a handshake over three fingers of rye, and Teddy Roosevelt supposedly recruited his Rough Riders—hard-living cowboys fresh from the Chisholm Trail. Note that Buckhorn Saloon & Museum also makes the same claim; either someone's been playing too much poker and can't stop bluffing, or Teddy had to go recruiting more than once.

Updated: 02-05-2013

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