Read us | Listen to us | Watch us | Join Live Events | Turn Off Ads | Live |

Click on your language to translate this article:

Afrikaans Afrikaans Albanian Albanian Amharic Amharic Arabic Arabic Armenian Armenian Azerbaijani Azerbaijani Basque Basque Belarusian Belarusian Bengali Bengali Bosnian Bosnian Bulgarian Bulgarian Catalan Catalan Cebuano Cebuano Chichewa Chichewa Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) Chinese (Traditional) Corsican Corsican Croatian Croatian Czech Czech Danish Danish Dutch Dutch English English Esperanto Esperanto Estonian Estonian Filipino Filipino Finnish Finnish French French Frisian Frisian Galician Galician Georgian Georgian German German Greek Greek Gujarati Gujarati Haitian Creole Haitian Creole Hausa Hausa Hawaiian Hawaiian Hebrew Hebrew Hindi Hindi Hmong Hmong Hungarian Hungarian Icelandic Icelandic Igbo Igbo Indonesian Indonesian Irish Irish Italian Italian Japanese Japanese Javanese Javanese Kannada Kannada Kazakh Kazakh Khmer Khmer Korean Korean Kurdish (Kurmanji) Kurdish (Kurmanji) Kyrgyz Kyrgyz Lao Lao Latin Latin Latvian Latvian Lithuanian Lithuanian Luxembourgish Luxembourgish Macedonian Macedonian Malagasy Malagasy Malay Malay Malayalam Malayalam Maltese Maltese Maori Maori Marathi Marathi Mongolian Mongolian Myanmar (Burmese) Myanmar (Burmese) Nepali Nepali Norwegian Norwegian Pashto Pashto Persian Persian Polish Polish Portuguese Portuguese Punjabi Punjabi Romanian Romanian Russian Russian Samoan Samoan Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic Serbian Serbian Sesotho Sesotho Shona Shona Sindhi Sindhi Sinhala Sinhala Slovak Slovak Slovenian Slovenian Somali Somali Spanish Spanish Sudanese Sudanese Swahili Swahili Swedish Swedish Tajik Tajik Tamil Tamil Telugu Telugu Thai Thai Turkish Turkish Ukrainian Ukrainian Urdu Urdu Uzbek Uzbek Vietnamese Vietnamese Welsh Welsh Xhosa Xhosa Yiddish Yiddish Yoruba Yoruba Zulu Zulu

Hotel History: Menger Hotel

Hotel History: Menger Hotel
Menger Hotel

The Menger Hotel, one of the most iconic and historically significant buildings in San Antonio, was constructed on Alamo Plaza in 1859 by German immigrants Mary and William Menger. Mary arrived in San Antonio in 1846 and when her husband died soon after her arrival, she opened a boarding house. The building provided studio space for renowned sculptor Gutzor Borglum, most famous for his work at Mt. Rushmore. After William Menger opened the Menger Brewery in 1855, he married Mary and the success of the Brewery operation led to the construction of the Menger Hotel.

The original two-story, 50-room structure was designed by San Antonio’s first prominent architect, John M. Fries who was responsible for the original City Market House and Casino Hall, both since demolished. He is also credited with repairing the Alamo in 1850 and saving it from destruction. Menger commissioned a three-story, 40-room addition in 1859 between the hotel and the brewery.

The San Antonio Herald on January 18, 1859, reported on the hotel project:

“The Menger Hotel is rapidly drawing towards completion. The main room on the second floor is unsurpassed for beauty. The finishing of the walls and ceilings being developed and executed by our fellow citizen P.C. Taylor. The walls and ceilings unite the smoothness of glass to the whiteness of alabaster, whilst the mouldings are conceived in fine taste and executed in the best style of art.”

Mr. Menger ran the following ad in local newspapers:

Menger Hotel

Alamo plaza          

San Antonio

The undersigned has with great care and expense built and fitted out a large & commodious hotel on Alamo Square which [will] be opened on the 1st of February 1859.

He flatters himself that his establishment will be large and well ventilated stable, which will at times be kept supplied with the best provender and attended to by experienced hostlers.

W.A. Menger

During four years of the Civil War, the hotel housed many Confederate Army soldiers including Sam Houston and Robert E. Lee. It provided food service in order to feed the officers and soldiers. The hotel also offered hospital beds and nursing services for medical care of wounded soldiers.

After William Menger died at the age of forty-four years in 1871, Mary and her son Louis William continued to operate the brewery and the hotel. In 1877, newly-built railroad service to San Antonio contributed to the growing success of the Menger. The hotel offered a unique mail chute on each floor that allowed guests to simply drop mail into the chute which would then be collected, taken to the post office and delivered to the address on the envelope. Talk about progress!

For many years, another popular draw to the hotel was the cuisine offered by Mary Menger herself. Mary had long been preparing meals for her guests at her boarding house and she felt doing so at the Menger Hotel would strengthen its appeal. The Mengers purchased the best beef, chicken, fresh country butter and eggs the markets had to offer. They also prided themselves on providing their guests with the finest delicacies of the time. The Mengers also sent out a wagon with benches that would drive around downtown San Antonio picking up businessmen in order to take them to the hotel to dine on the delicious fare. Mary made up the menu for her guests, which included a selection of soups, beef, pasta, veal, and a variety of tasty desserts. All of this would be served in one sitting and every person left the dining room feeling quite satisfied. Mary was also known for throwing lavish dinner parties for celebrity guests that only further proved her culinary excellence. Many of Mary’s recipes are still offered today in the hotel’s Colonial Dining Room.

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and the 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Turkel is the most widely-published hotel consultant in the United States. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases, provides asset management and hotel franchising consultation. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association. [email protected] 917-628-8549

His new book “Great American Hotel Architects Volume 2” has just been published.

Other Published Hotel Books:

  • Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)
  • Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt, Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)
  • Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)
  • Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)
  • Great American Hotel Architects Volume I (2019)
  • Hotel Mavens: Volume 3: Bob and Larry Tisch, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Curt Strand

All of these books can be ordered from AuthorHouse by visiting and clicking on the book’s title.