Facts & Photos

Whether you”re a parent, teacher or history fan, we have an exhibit that you and your students or family will enjoy. Have fun exploring our site and learning about life in historic South Texas.


  • The world’s longest digitally printed photo mural featuring 9 Porfirio Salinas landscape paintings which form a 15 foot high by 168 foot long wall, which serves as a backdrop for A Wild and Vivid Land: Stories of South Texas.


  • The Trail Drivers Monument, displayed in the courtyard, was created by noted American sculptor Gutzon Borglum, who is well known for his greatest work, the Presidents on Mount Rushmore.


  • What’s in a saddle?  Each has their own style and can be identified by the shape of the horn, which was used to tie off ropes, and the leather construction.


  • For nearly a century, San Antonio was the largest city on the western frontier and was a hub of commerce.


  • Independent entrepreneurs who transported goods between cities were called freighters. They used ox-drawn wagons called carretas could contain 250 carts.


  • Vaqueros were the original cowboys from Mexico. Their unique roping techniques were adopted by American cowboys.


  • The high crown on a cowboy’s hat was design to keep their heads cool in high heat; broad brims were designed to shade the eyes and neck.


  • One of the earliest fandangos, or dance halls, in San Antonio was called Madame Bustamante’s and it was located on Main Plaza, just south of San Fernando Cathedral.


  • Trail drives were important to the San Antonio economy in the 1870s abd 1880s. A cow in San Antonio was worth $1, but if the herd could be driven to Kansas City, they were worth $10 each.


  • San Antonio was known for its chili queens, who were vendors who sold chili con carne, enchiladas, tamales and coffee in the city plaza, which was where everyone in town ate breakfast and lunch.