Okay, I’m not a hunter and for the most part, do not consider the killing of animals a “sport.” Not judging anybody. I’m just a card carrying member of the Defenders of Wildlife and have “adopted” a sea turtle, a wolf, and a polar bear in the wild. And I gotta admit seeing once-living, once-magnificent creatures stuffed for display kinda creeps me out. That said, the animals at the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum, San Antonio, are something to see. And I truly admit I enjoyed my visit there.
|Longhorn at Buckthorn|
On my trip to San Antonio a while back (and my first visit ever to Texas!), I made the trek to Buckhorn’s. It was walking distance from my hotel, and I had GPS to boot. Today you can see over 500 different critters from around the world. The displays began as the private collection of Albert Friedrich (1864-1928) in 1881. His dad was a master cabinetmaker whose designs expanded into horn furniture. Queen Victoria and Kaiser Wilhelm are said to have owned the senior Friedrich’s pieces. Albert began his own collection when he was seventeen.
Albert eventually acquired a saloon on Dolorosa Street in his native San Antonio, and put his collection on display. In 1890, he purchased a seventy-eight point buck for $100 that is still on display at the museum’s present location. He increased his own collection from personal hunting trips and from other hunters and trappers. (This guy was found all trapped in barbed wire.)
Knowing most dusty travelers didn’t have much spare change, he is said to have often swapped a drink for a set of horns he could then display. A collection of firearms and a mirrored bar were eventually added.
It is believed that Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders frequented the saloon during their deployment in San Antonio.
When Prohibition became law, Albert could no longer sell alcohol. Therefore, he, in 1922 he relocated his business and renamed it Albert’s Curio Store. In 1956, the Buckhorn Saloon and the Buckhorn Hall of Horns collection were restored at the Old Lone Star Brewery on Jones Avenue. Today the collections include Hall of Fins and Hall of Feathers.
When the brewing company changed owners in 1977, the collections were sold off. Albert’s granddaughter and her husband (Mary Friedrich Rogers and Albert Rogers) acquired the entire collection in 1997, and it was then moved to its present location that it shares with the equally fascinating Texas Ranger Museum. The Museum includes hundreds of actual Ranger artifacts and amazing tableaux and displays. I loved every second and bought a Ranger star badge for my little grandson.
I sure enjoyed my time there!
(This past weekend, I found out that Book Six in my Hearts Crossing Ranch series will be released November 9.)