Author: David L Peché
Recognized as the oldest continuously operating hotel west of the Mississippi, the Menger Hotel opened its doors in 1859. Business-minded men and women followed suit, establishing inns, lodges, motels, and hotels for tourists, businessmen, and passers-through that offered a wide range of amenities. The Crockett Hotel has overlooked the Alamo since 1909. The St. Anthony Hotel was the first luxury hotel in the state of Texas and often hosted celebrities, politicians, and other elite society. The Gunter Hotel was called the "first million-dollar hotel" in Texas by the Austin American Statesman and was deemed to have the "largest hotel lobby in the South" by the San Antonio Light and Gazette. The Fairmount Hotel drew acclaim after being moved five blocks in April 1985, when it was honored with an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the "heaviest hotel ever moved." The evolution of San Antonio from military post and Texas's oldest municipality to the fastest-growing large US city, told through the lens of the city's hotels, is filled with unique historical perspective.
Why did I write this book?
As a native of San Antonio, my mom & dad filmed and photographed our precious family history. This lead me into photography & videography filming some of San Antonio's rich history when I grew up. In 1982 I filmed the implosion of the Stowers Building. That same year I filmed the guitarist Randy Rhoads, who died 1 month later. Some of this footage I licensed to the movie Hired Gun in 2015. In the summer of 1985 I photographed the abandoned Santa Monica Hotel and share this in my new book. Fast forward to 2002, I returned home to San Antonio after living in Los Angeles, London and Austin collectively for 12 years. Traveling to 9 countries while going to school and visiting museums sparked my love of San Antonio's history when I returned, thus inspiring me to save what I was uncovering before it was lost forever.