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History of the Menger Hotel & Why a Tour is a Must

Menger Hotel

Notorious for the Battle of the Alamo, the Alamo Plaza has since grown to become a popular destination for visitors of all kinds. From architect aficionados to aspiring ghost hunters, there is something for everyone to enjoy! Here at Walking Tours of San Antonio, we provide exactly that – an opportunity to visit 7 historic landmarks, such as: The Alamo, The Majestic Theater, The Governor’s Palace, Main Square and San Fernando Cathedral, Old Bexar County Jail, The Emily Morgan Hotel, and The Menger Hotel. Surviving the Great Depression, Civil War, and Reconstruction period, many of these buildings are considered to be haunted; which is the history of the Menger Hotel and why a tour is a must! Get a chance to learn and explore as we head out on a ghost tour like no other!

Cultural History

Celebrating their 165th anniversary this year, the Menger Hotel has been a staple in the local community since 1859. They pride themselves on going above and beyond to provide exquisite experiences, cuisines, and accommodations for guests; food was flown in from foreign lands and installations were added to improve guest services and circulate the local economy. Over the years, their lobby introduced San Antonio’s first ever telegraph, a railroad ticket office, stage line office, on-site veterinary surgeon, barbershop, as well as a bar and billiards hall. Inducted to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, the hotel is known for its beautiful architectural designs, vast history, and alluring presence.

Luxurious Hospitality

Starting at only two-stories with 50 rooms, this space was originally built by the original owners, William and Mary Wenger, to house customers from their local Western Brewery. As popularity grew, further construction was done to create the current structure we see today: five-stories with 316 rooms. Full of ancient artifacts, marble floors, and Renaissance designs, the Menger hotel is large and exquisite enough to be a museum of its own. Its stunning Spanish-style courtyard garden was often enjoyed by guests of all sorts. However, the dining hall is revered as the best in West Texas – vibrant with Victorian decor and a long history of events, like formal dinners and political collaborations.

Famous Visitors

During the war, General Robert E. Lee, Governor Sam Houston, Pro-unionist Charles Anderson, as well as members of the Confederate and United States Army spent time here resting and strategizing. President Ulysses S. Grant and his First Lady, along with President Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, also spent weeks here, meeting and drinking at the Menger Bar – a cherry-wood bar resembling the famous London House of Lords Club. Even Professional Athletes like Babe Ruth and Actresses like Mae West were seen staying here.

Most have come and gone, but there are some who remain. With over 40 paranormal sightings reported at Menger Hotel, it is said to be one of the spookiest stops along the entire tour. It is said that Sallie White, a maid who supposedly died at the hotel, still roams the third-floor halls, carrying towels and traveling through walls. Even in rooms like the King Ranch Suite, which was booked by Captain Richard King when he discovered he was ill, and later passed in the same bed frame that remains today.

Haunted Tours

Wondering what to do in San Antonio? Get a chance to see the unthinkable, follow crime trails, and learn about the culture around you on our Ghost and Murder Walk. Welcome to all ages, each walk departs daily at 8pm., rain or shine, and lasts for 1.5 hours. Check out our FAQ page for more information on what to wear and where to meet for your outing. If you’re new to ghost tours, read more About Us on our website. Book with us for your chance to witness the haunted hotel and more for yourself!