San Antonio is known as the most haunted city in Texas and one of the most haunted in the United States. After the bloody battle at The Alamo in 1836, ghosts were no strangers in the heart of San Antonio. Right next to The Alamo sits the Menger Hotel, one of the oldest hotels in Texas. William Menger was a German immigrant who started the Menger Brewery and later opened the Menger Hotel in 1859, contributing directly to the development and growth of San Antonio. The Menger Hotel attracted wealthy businessmen and numerous US Presidents and celebrities, some of whom are said to still linger at the hotel.
Some witnesses have reported seeing the ghost of President Theodore Roosevelt at the hotel bar. In the 1890’s, Teddy Roosevelt would sit at the Menger’s bar and scout out tough Texas cowboys. After getting a few drinks in them, he would convince them to join the Rough Riders, a volunteer cavalry assembled to fight in the Spanish-American War after the US Army was weakened in numbers and strength after the Civil War.
More often seen at the Menger Hotel is the ghost of Captain Richard King. King began to build his wealth and status as a top-notch steamboat captain, and after spending time in San Antonio, he bought chunks of Texas land until he had one of the largest ranches in the world, King’s Ranch. Captain King frequented the Menger Hotel so often, he had his own suite there. At the age of 60, King’s doctor told him that his health was failing and he would die soon. He decided to spend his last months at the Menger hotel, where he felt most at home, and this is where he tied up all of his personal and professional business and said goodbye to his friends. In April 1885, Captain Richard King died at the Menger Hotel, in his personal suite, room #2052. Ever since then, King’s spirit has been roaming the halls, and witnesses to claim to see him float through the door to his suite. King’s ghost has been spotted in the parlor and other areas of the original hotel (newer wings have been added since King’s time).
Another commonly seen ghost at the Menger Hotel is that of Sallie White, a black chambermaid who worked at the hotel. Sallie took pride in her job at the Menger, and she was treated like family by her employer and other staff members. Sallie’s husband, Henry Wheeler, had a respectable job running horse-drawn cargo carriages, but he began losing work once the railroad started running through San Antonio. The stress eventually took its toll, and the couple’s marriage began to suffer. One night in March 1876, Henry and Sallie had a big fight, and Sallie stayed at the Menger Hotel for the evening. It’s not known if she spent the night with another man, or if she had any sort of affair outside her marriage, but the next morning, as Sallie was leaving the hotel to go home, Henry confronted her. He accused her of being unfaithful, and then he shot her. Terribly wounded, she was carried into a room at the hotel and efforts were made to save her. Two days later, Sallie White died at the Menger Hotel. Sallie’s ghost is often seen in the hallways, dressed in her chambermaid uniform and carrying towels to deliver to guests’ rooms. Others have reported seeing her in various areas of the hotel, dusting and tending to her duties.
Here are some pictures I took while exploring the Menger Hotel. It’s a beautiful hotel in a perfectly cozy area, so I can see why so many felt at home there. So much, they never want to leave…