Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tanya Hanson's Afternoon at Buckhorn Museum...

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.)


  1. Tanya, my cover for my next book is ready and it is very similar to your cover, with the exception of no child and the hero is riding through a field of bluebonnets. Please don't think I copied you! It's been ready almost since I started writing this book, BLUEBONNET BRIDE, and I probably won't be finished until almost Christmas. Lovely post, by the way. I have been to the TX Rangwer Museum in Waco and didn't realize there was also one in San Antonio.

  2. Hi Caroline, oh, the cover was designed not by me but White Rose Publishing. I'm so glad you like it. I can't wait for your new book!

    All the covers for the Hearts Crossing Ranch (this is book six) have a similar "diorama" with the containment backdrop. I do think the artists do a splendid job!

    Yeah, there is another Ranger museum in Waco, and I think it's much larger. But this one was a fun place to spend some time. Thanks for the post today.

  3. I don't know what happened in my previous post, but I meant "with the MOUNTAIN backdrop", not containment. Sheesh. It didn't seem that way when I hit publish. Ah, well, it's still pretty early here in California

  4. Tanya, what a fascinating place the Buckhorn Museum must be! The next time I get to San Antonio, I'll be sure to visit it. Thanks for sharing your experience there.

  5. Hi Lyn, thanks so much for stopping by. It was such a great place, so much ambiance. I wasn't able to get to my publishing house (The Wild Rose Press)'s retreat in SA this last week, but the Buckhorn is definitely on my list of places to see again!

  6. Tanya--I've known about the Buckhorn--I live just north of SA--but I've never seen it--just as there's a lot I've never seen in that city.
    It looks very interesting.
    Yes, the "real" Ranger museum is in Waco. I went there once with a busload of 7-8th grade boys. Needless to say, I did not see much of the museum. I need to go back alone..okay, I'll take one person--my dh.
    Very good!

  7. Amazing photos. It takes a lot of imagination and skill to create these pieces of art. Thanks for sharing the information.

    Congrats on the new books release being so soon!


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