The beer William Menger brewed was so potent, his customers sometimes spent the night on the benches in the brewery. So in 1858, Menger, who’d moved to San Antonio from Germany in the 1840s, built a hotel. The hotel-brewery was wildly popular, and Menger rose to prominence as a successful businessman. Many of the early land and cattle deals were inked in the Menger over one of his lagers, which were brewed with a Mexican candy called piloncillo.
Eventually, the hotel operation overtook the brewery and was sold to J. H. Kampmann in the early 1880s. Although the building has undergone many remodels, the Menger remains a well-known historic hotel. Touted as the oldest standing hotel West of the Mississippi, the Menger Hotel today has been restored to return much of its 1859 beauty. Inside, visitors can sit in the famous lobby where cattle barons built their empires. The hotel also features an impressive collection of historical artifacts and paintings from the 19th century. Added to the National Register for Historic Places in 1976, the Menger’s period paintings, furniture, and ornamentation remind visitors that it was a frontier oasis for cattlemen and politicos.
Watch our German Texan Culture video to learn more about German Texan cultural heritage in Texas. This video was produced for inclusion in our German Texans mobile tour found in our Texas Time Travel Tours mobile app. Download the app for more videos and travel information: