Greetings from San Antonio
Historic Postcards of the Alamo City
More than six hundred historic postcards offer a compelling visual narrative of San Antonio in the early twentieth century
At the dawn of the twentieth century, just as color postcards were becoming a worldwide sensation, San Antonio bypassed Dallas as the largest city in Texas. Idyllic postcard images of San Antonio began landing in mailboxes across the country, displaying recently gained wealth and prosperity. Greetings from San Antonio is a collection of more than six hundred color and black-and-white photo postcards, many of them quite rare, that yield a compelling visual narrative of the city during this pivotal period.
Large buildings like Joske’s department store and the Milam Building, railroad stations, mansions on paved streets, the 343-acre Brackenridge Park, and plush hotels such as the Saint Anthony and the Gunter replaced dusty frontier streetscapes at the turn of the century. This delighted postcard publishers, who gave proud residents and curious visitors alike the opportunity to mail images of a modern city worldwide. As the midcentury approached, postcards’ peak in popularity faded, along with San Antonio’s title as the largest city in the state.
Greetings from San Antonio presents a portrait essential to understanding the modern origins of this distinctive American city. Daily life is captured through seldom-seen images of downtown, including the Alamo, and early suburban neighborhoods, churches and schools, and entertainment venues and festivals like the annual citywide celebration Fiesta. Special attention is given to San Antonio’s emerging reputation as a military city, with images of early army and air bases—Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base, Camp Bullis, and Brooks, Kelly, and Randolph Fields. Highlights include postcards showing the San Antonio–based pursuit of Pancho Villa and the city’s role as a hub for military preparations for World Wars I and II.
Taken as a whole, Greetings from San Antonio is a captivating portrayal of the city during the early years of its transformation into the multicultural mecca it is today.