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100 Amazing Photos of San Antonio from the 1950s

San Antonio is the second-most-populous city in Texas. There is a sense of authenticity to the city’s rich culture, which captures a glimpse of early Spanish colonial life in the Southwest. It was founded in 1718 as the first civil settlement in Texas. San Antonio’s early architectural and cultural elements still exist today, allowing visitors to experience the city’s storied past first-hand at its historical sites. In the 1930s, cobblestone paths and stairways were constructed as a federal project during the Depression. There are many great shops, cafes, and entertainment options along the River Walk.

The major industries in San Antonio are hospitality and medical/biotechnology. The city produces a lot of beer, petroleum, and cattle. As a college town and a center for higher education, San Antonio has 12 accredited universities and colleges. In San Antonio, the Paseo del Rio, or River Walk, is one of the country’s most famous and picturesque walks.

During World Wars I and II, San Antonio was a major military center that dominated its economy. San Antonio flourished in the 1950s, and its population grew rapidly. The city’s population doubled from 253,8543 in 1940 to 408,442 in 1950. Here are some stunning historical photos that show San Antonio in the 1950s.

#1 Young women, in swim suits, on boardwalk on lake at Lone Star Brewing Company, 1954

#2 House with asbestos cement veneer siding by Brickstone Products Corporation, 1955

#3 Guerra’s Super Service Station, 203 N. New Braunfels, 1950s

#6 Penner’s, 701 W. Commerce Street, San Antonio, 1950s

Penner's, 701 W. Commerce Street, San Antonio, 1950s

South (front) and west elevations of the men's clothing store on northwest corner of W. Commerce and Camaron Streets. Shows metal false front over the facade of the brick building. View looking northeast with San Pedro Creek Bridge on far left.

#7 Heusinger Hardware Company, 111 Military Plaza, San Antonio, 1950s

Heusinger Hardware Company, 111 Military Plaza, San Antonio, 1950s

Photograph shows east (front) elevation of the store, with entrance to Liberto Specialty Company in the same building (113 Military Plaza) on far left. West side of Military Plaza.

#8 Leeds Department Store, 801 W. Commerce Street, San Antonio, 1955

Leeds Department Store, 801 W. Commerce Street, San Antonio, 1955

Photograph shows the clothing store at northwest corner of W. Commerce and N. Laredo Streets.

#9 Photograph shows a bus in downtown San Antonio Traffic, 1953

#10 Nacional Theater, 819 W. Commerce Street, San Antonio, 1955

Nacional Theater, 819 W. Commerce Street, San Antonio, 1955

Photograph shows exterior of the building at northeast corner of W. Commerce and N. Santa Rosa Avenue. To the right of entrance is Nacional Cafe (817 W. Commerce) and La Nacional News (newstand) on sidewalk outside cafe.

#11 Lifeguard Don Pfeil sitting in how tower while being surrounded by children at Woodlawn Pool, 1954

#12 The new fire truck for the San Antonio, Texas Fire Department, 1952

#13 Vacant building formerly occupied by Newman Poultry and Egg Company, 1011 Dolorosa Street, San Antonio, 1955

#14 Construction of second north addition of Menger Hotel April 17, 1950.

#15 Fess Parker and Buddy Ebsen outside the Alamo, 1955

#16 House at 338 with asbestos cement veneer siding by Brickstone Products Corporation, 1955

#17 Transit Tower (former Smith-Young Tower) decorated with Christmas lights, 1950

#18 Harvey Smith, Archbishop Lucey, Louis Guido, and workers at Mission Espada restoration, 1955

#19 Teodoro Sanchez and L.P. Longoria working outside the church at Mission Espada, 1956

#20 Famous rodeo clowns Jack Kemp (left) and Jimmy Schumacher, 1950

#21 Police Detective Sixto Sepulveda with stolen bicycle parts stored in police headquarters basement, 1950

#22 Swimming in the San Antonio River on the South Side at the Rio Vista Dam, 1955

#23 John H. Warren and son Bill in a paddle boat on San Antonio River, 1956

#29 San Pedro Creek and west elevation of Liberal Loan Company Building from W. Houston Street, San Antonio, 1950s

#30 Rio Grande Valley Farm Workers March to Austin, 1950s

Rio Grande Valley Farm Workers March to Austin, 1950s

Rev. James Novarro, pastor of Kashmere Baptist Temple in Houston and co-chairman of the march, leads the marchers along highway west of Floresville.

#32 One-story frame house, 415 N. San Saba Street, San Antonio, 1955

One-story frame house, 415 N. San Saba Street, San Antonio, 1955

Photograph shows west (rear) elevation of the house with shed in back yard.

#34 Vacant buildings at 512 and 518 N. Laredo Street, San Antonio, 1952

Vacant buildings at 512 and 518 N. Laredo Street, San Antonio, 1952

Photograph shows the two buildings, the one on right (512 N. Laredo Street) has Dr. Pepper advertisement and sign for Blair's Body and Paint Works (503 1/2 W. Martin Street) that is behind it on right.

#35 Park and Lock Auto Parking Lot., 150 North Street, 1959

Park and Lock Auto Parking Lot., 150 North Street, 1959

Automobiles in the parking lot. In background are a two-story apartment house (left) and the back of the two-story Francis Ignatius Meyer House, at 144 North Street.

#36 Alamo Downs Race Track in the early 1950s. Empty stands and part of the track at Alamo Downs after it was abandoned.

#37 Demolition of the Vance house at 210 E. Nueva Street to make way for the new Federal Reserve Bank, 1952

#38 One-story frame house, 524 Columbus Street, San Antonio, 1957

One-story frame house, 524 Columbus Street, San Antonio, 1957

East (back) and north elevations of the house on southeast corner of Morales and Columbus Streets. View from Morales Street.

#40 Elementary school students in Seay School classroom, 1951

Elementary school students in Seay School classroom, 1951

Four grades, 9 subjects, 16 youngsters and 1 teacher. That's the educational program at Seay [School], one of only two regular 1-room schools in Bexar County. Located on the very top of a windswept hill two miles northwest of Wetmore

#41 Construction of the dam and powerhouse on the Rio Grande, 1953

#43 Willard Sampson watching installation of plumbing at new house site, 1953

#45 Frank Monaco watching as license plates are removed from car, 1953

#48 Alamo Title Building, 205 W. Travis Street, San Antonio, 1955

#49 Lone Star Brewing Company, 542 Simpson Street, September 1955

#50 Lone Star Brewing Company, 542 Simpson Street, September 1955

#51 Lone Star Brewing Company, 542 Simpson Street, 1955

#52 Men on boardwalk on lake at Lone Star Brewing Company, 542 Simpson Street, 1955

#53 Lone Star Brewing Company, 542 Simpson Street, 1955

#56 Life Guard Don Pfeil sitting in how tower while being surrounded by children at Woodlawn Pool, 1954

#57 Lone Star Brewing Company, 542 Simpson Street, 1954

#58 Props used during Lone Star Aquacade at lake on grounds of Lone Star Brewing Company, 1954

#59 Fiesta Flambeau: King Antonio XXXII (John H. Savage Jr.) passes the Manila Café on Broadway, 1954

#60 Employees in front of trucks at Lone Star Brewing Company, 542 Simpson Street, 1954

#61 Props used during Lone Star Aquacade at lake on grounds of Lone Star Brewing Company, 1954

#62 Harper General Tire Company, 915 Austin Highway at Franklin Street, 1954

#63 Sheep lined up for judging outside the sheep barn during the San Antonio Livestock Exposition, 1954

#64 Harper General Tire Company, 509 S. Alamo Street, 1954

#65 Men on boardwalk on lake at Lone Star Brewing Company, 542 Simpson Street, 1955

#66 Exterior of Porter Loring Funeral Home, 206 Jefferson Street, 1950

#67 First Baptist Church choir inside church on Fourth Street, 1950s

#68 Guest quarters with screened porches at Lost Valley Resort Ranch, 1950

#73 Martin Bakery, 716 San Pedro Avenue, and San Antonio Furniture Company, 702 San Pedro Avenu, 1950

#76 Women’s group near swimming pool behind Evan and Gladys Moon residence, 223 Parklane Drive, Olmos Park, 1950s

#78 Ford Motor Company products in automotive parts display room, 1950s

#79 Guerra’s Super Service Station, 203 N. New Braunfels, 1950s

#80 Construction of second north addition of Menger Hotel, April 17, 1950.

#81 E. Houston Street looking east toward intersection of N. St. Mary’s Street, San Antonio, Texas, 1950

#84 E. Houston Street looking east from Gunter Office Building, San Antonio, 1950s

#85 Buildings at West San Antonio Heights School, 1950

#86 E. Houston Street looking east toward intersection of N. St. Mary’s Street, San Antonio, 1950

#87 Albert “Don Albert” Dominique residence, 806 Lombrano Street, San Antonio, 1950s

#91 Joske’s, corner of Blum and N. Alamo Streets, 1950. View looking southeast from Alamo Plaza.

#92 Exterior of store located at 124 S. Flores Street, 1950

#93 Guest quarters with screened porches at Lost Valley Resort Ranch, 1950

#95 Guest quarters with screened porches at Lost Valley Resort Ranch, 1950

#96 Horseback riding at Lost Valley Resort Ranch, 1950

#97 Oscar and Rosalinda Elizondo and guests in La Gloria Food Market, 701 S. Laredo Street, San Antonio, 1950

#98 Exterior of La Gloria Food Market, 701 S. Laredo Street, San Antonio, April 1950

#99 Interior of La Gloria Food Market, 701 S. Laredo Street, San Antonio, Texas, July 1950

#100 Looking south up San Antonio Street from the intersection at 16th Street, 1951

#101 Looking north up San Antonio Street from the intersection at 16th Street, 1951

#103 A street in San Antonio with the Alamo Cenotaph Monument, 1950

#104 Individuals outside a food vendor in San Antonio, 1950s

#105 A view of the Alamo courtyard in San Antonio, 1950

#106 Paramount Studios’ San Antonio Replica, May 14, 1959.

#108 Church in San Antonio, November 9, 1956.

Church in San Antonio, November 9, 1956.

The building is single story with a large, pitched roof with stained glass windows. At the front of the church an entry way with two sets of double doors can be seen, and a large, tall cross stands between them, rising above the church.

#109 San Antonio Pipe & Supply Company located at Nathan and South Alamo Street, 1955

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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