Every city has its trivia, historical places, celebrities, and special secrets, and San Antonio is no exception. There is plenty for you to learn whether you’re a native San Antonian or a newbie who’s just moving in. That being said, here are just a few things you didn’t know about the Alamo City:
It’s the Most Romantic City in the U.S.
While it may not be the city of Brotherly Love or a world-renowned destination for couples like Paris, San Antonians love romance. In fact, Amazon ranked it as the most romantic city because it has the highest number of romance book and movie sales. But if that’s not enough to convince you, San Antonio also is home to romantic relics such as the bench that 18-year-old Johnny Cash carved “Johnny loves Vivian” into for his future wife. The River Walk and the heart-shaped island, called “Marriage Island,” also host over 200 weddings every year.
It’s the Most Catholic City in the U.S.
Pope John Paul II visited San Antonio in 1987 and declared it was the most Catholic city in the U.S. San Antonio has a long history with Catholicism. It has five missions that were built by the Spaniards, four of which are still active. The most famous mission is the Alamo, which brings 30 million visitors every year. San Antonio even got its name from the governor of Texas who stopped in the city on Saint Anthony’s day.
It’s Part of More History Than the Alamo
While most people remember the Alamo, San Antonio plays a larger role in U.S. history. Before the Spanish arrived in San Antonio, Native American tribes lived in the area and called it, “the place of refreshing waters.” While the Payaya tribe was most likely the first to encounter the Spaniards, many other tribes lived in the area, including the Apache, Comanche, and Kiowa.
Skipping ahead in time, San Antonio participated in the New Deal infrastructure improvements during the 1930s and 1940s. Some of the projects that brought jobs to San Antonio under the New Deal include the River Walk, restoration of the San Jose Mission, a bridge in Brackenridge Park, the Alamo stadium and murals in the former post office. Also during the 1930s, San Antonio’s oldest bar, Esquire Tavern, opened on the same day as prohibition was repealed.
Perhaps one of the most impressive parts of San Antonio’s history, however, is that Teddy Roosevelt trained with the first U.S. Volunteer Cavalry during the Spanish American War in San Antonio. These men would come to be known as Roosevelt’s “Rough Riders.”
It’s the Birthplace of Chili
The first record of a chili recipe comes from J.C. Clopper in 1828 who was visiting the city. He described a dish that low-income families would eat as beef that was cut into a kind of hash that had nearly as many peppers as it did meat. San Antonio’s history with chili goes even further. In the 1880s, chili queens set up stands to sell their chili, or bowl o’red, in the market. This became a tourist attraction for San Antonio, so much so that the city set up a chili stand at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.
Now that you know a little more about San Antonio’s past, it’s time to become part of the city’s present and future. Explore the city, make discoveries, and maybe you’ll be part of its trivia in the future.