Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Old San Antonio map, the main thing

Here it is, by popular demand and in response to this post, your new city map of old San Antonio, from sometime between 1923 and 1933.

Take your time to look it over, but be warned -- this is a big file. In fact, I think this is the biggest graphic file I have ever assembled. It may take some time to load for you. If you have problems, pop into the comments and let me know. I might make another post with the individual pieces I scanned in.

Some things to look for:
-- The original city limits, which are remarkably geometrical.
-- Other military installations near Kelly Field.
-- The neighborhoods now displaced by Hemisfair Park, the Convention Center, and the Alamodome.
-- What the land the zoo is on used to be called.
-- What St. Anthony High School used to be.
-- Any other point of interest that catches your eye.

Happy perusing.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Feed microtoxins swine udder

Yep. That's probably the strangest search string that ever led somebody to this blog.

What's yours?

Old San Antonio map

Here's your new city map, from sometime in the past.

If I remember correctly, we found this in some of my grandfather's things after he died, and I kept it as a historical document. I hadn't seen it in a while, not until I cleaned out a little-used drawer this weekend and found it.

I don't know what year this map is from. There is no copyright date, but it is from a time when telephone numbers were still just a letter and five numerals, and from sometime before the mid-1950s when the interstate system was dreamed up. (IH-35 was just a segment of the new "Hi-Way to Mexico City.")

I haven't decided yet if I want to scan the whole thing or not, but I did scan the panel that shows what the downtown area looked like back then. It's interesting to look at to see what has changed and what, remarkably, has stayed the same.

And here is where we get the best clue as to when this map was printed. Take a look at the bottom of the downtown map where St. Mary's Street and Navarro Street converge, just above the "F" marker. It's a little hard to read, but there are lines indicating the path of mass transit routes, and right at the intersection with Nueva Street there is written "Roosevelt Bus," "Hot Wells Bus," "Hot Wells Car," and "Brooks Field Bus."

Hot Wells Car and Bus. That means this map is from a time when San Antonio still had the old rail streetcars running as well as buses. And, according to this article written by Paula Allen at the Express-News, this is between 1923 and 1933 when the Public Service Company ran both modes prior to scrapping the streetcars in favor of an all-bus system.

So, there you are, your New City Map, possibly from the early 20th Century.

I wouldn't rely on it, though, if you need to get somewhere.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Truck crashes into home

And it takes out two fences along the way!
The crash happened just before 10 p.m. on Friday night.

According to the police report, a truck was traveling southbound on Bynum Avenue when it changed lanes at an unsafe speed and lost control.

The report also said that the truck went over the median, through two chain link fences and through the house.

Dolores Solis and her family were sitting in the front room when they heard the crash in their home.

"It was pretty loud, said Solis. "I mean it shook the entire house, all the way to the living room."
(from KSAT-12)

No one was hurt, but there is some bonus strangeness, specifically this description:
"A truck-size tire flew through the window and it landed in the middle of the floor of her bedroom," said Solis. "Had she'd been there she could have been struck by the tire or the glass."
A truck-size tire? We already know the offending vehicle was a truck, so any tire on it could be assumed to be the right size for a truck. That is, unless you own this:


Or maybe she meant the tire itself was a big as a truck, maybe like this?


It's hard to tell. What do you think?

P.S.: Holy crap! A tire flew off the truck when it crashed in to the house? Dang, that's some impact!

Finding religion

There are many churches in downtown San Antonio. Sometimes you have to look a little harder to find them.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Did you know?

In downtown San Antonio, there is an old observatory.

Really. It's back there, on top of that old building, which sits next to the Municipal Auditorium.

I've noticed that thing for many years, but I have no idea who owns it or what its history is. I doubt it's used anymore, because I don't think you could get a decent look at the stars in the middle of the central business district, but it's still cool to look at from the street.

Anybody else out there know anything about this old landmark?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

An inmate who thought a lot

Well, I could think of better ways to make a point, but he certainly got somebody's attention!
SAN ANTONIO -- The federal courthouse Downtown was partially evacuated after a letter containing some suspicious white powder was discovered there.

The letter was discovered around 11:00 a.m. at the United States Courthouse in the 600 block of East Durango. According to a San Antonio Fire Department spokesperson, two Hazardous Materials units and three response teams were called to the scene to check out the powder. News 4 WOAI was told the basement area of the courthouse was placed on lockdown while crews worked to determine if the powder was dangerous.

According to a HazMat team at the scene, the letter contained food products and talcum powder and was sent by an inmate at the Connelly Unit who, apparently, wants the quality of the food at the prison unit to be tested.
(from WOAI-TV)

His sentence may be tested, too. And it could be found to stand a few more years.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A cyclist who should have thought a little more

A confluence of wrongs led up to this incident.
A bicyclist is recovering after he rode around railroad crossing arms on the East Side and crashed into a train Friday night.

Levi Smith, 47, reportedly had been drinking around 11:15 p.m., when he maneuvered around the closed crossing in the 400 block of Burnet Street, just east of U.S. 281, San Antonio police said.

An incident report states Smith was riding the wrong way on Burnet Street and wasn't wearing a helmet when he crashed into the eastbound Union Pacific train.

(from the Express-News)

Bonus strangeness:
Raquel Espinoza-Williams, a spokeswoman for the railroad, said a snow plow in the front of the locomotive struck Smith. The impact caused him to be flung off the tracks, which may have saved his life, she said. [emphasis added]
A snowplow? In the summer? In Texas? Any train enthusiasts out there know if it is standard practice or not for the railroads to leave plows on locomotives throughout the year? If so, Mr. Smith sure is lucky that piece of equipment was in place.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Someone who should have thought a lot more

If you ever decide to get a tattoo on your neck, perhaps you shouldn't take on a life of crime. Or, if you've decided to begin a criminal career, perhaps you shouldn't get a tattoo on your neck. Where it can be seen. And identified.
SAN ANTONIO -- A man wanted for robbing a shoe store is in jail Friday morning after police track him down by the tattoo on his neck.

Police say 28-year-old Jesus Delgado robbed the Payless Shoesource on S.W. Military near Pleasanton Road on Monday. ....

Investigators tell News 4 WOAI they were able to identify Delgado after the witnesses described a tattoo of a woman’s name on his neck.
(from WOAI-TV)

On second thought, don't get that neck tattoo at all. I'm pretty sure you'll regret it somewhere down the line.

Bonus strangeness: He robbed a Payless. WTF?! Shouldn't you be going after stores that require their customers to pay more?

ADDED: Um, how come no one mentioned his other tattoo?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Car crashes into day care

OK, autos, you may have a beef with our domiciles and fences, but let's leave the children out of it. M'kay?
A North Side day care center is temporarily closed after an SUV crashed through one of its walls Wednesday morning.

Laura Castillo, 24, was dropping off her two children at Educare Child Care in the 3800 block of West Avenue and careened into an empty classroom when her brakes failed, said San Antonio police.

Neither Castillo nor her two children, ages 6 and 8, were injured in the crash, which occurred around 10 a.m. No one inside the building was either, officials said.

(from the Express-News)

Photographer: Eva Ruth Moravec, emoravec@express-news.net

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Looking like a fool

... with your pants on the ground.

Really, guys. Isn't it about time to retire the saggy pants look?
A San Antonio police officer was following his instincts when he spotted a young man coming out of some shrubbery at around 10:30 p.m. Saturday night. It just seemed suspicious.
Police say when they began to approach, the man took off running and at the same time dropped a bag of marijuana.
In the foot-chase that followed, the suspect cleared several fences even after the officer yelled at him to stop.
According to the report, the officer was able to grab hold of the suspect, but then the suspect started punching at him.
In an effort to control the suspect, the officer used pepper spray on him, but it seemed to have little or no effect.
Finally, in the 1200 block of East Carson, near Fort Sam, the officer again made a grab at the suspect. He brought out his tactical baton, and hit the suspect several times on his arms and 'non-vital areas'. This too was met with continued efforts to escape.
But this time the suspect's shorts, that were now wrapped around his ankles, bungle[d] his attempts, and the suspect fell head first onto the pavement.
(from KENS-5)

Can't get away if you can't run.

Oh, and the suspect had left a one-year-old child unattended in his apartment. With a hot iron in reach. And pot traces everywhere.

Parent of the year material.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Peeing under pressure

Sabra caught this one.

Officers responding to a disturbance call [at the Bum Steer bar] at about 2:30 a.m. reported that the driver of a gray Ford Mustang fired several shots at them. A short chase ensued, police said.

The driver fled after crashing his vehicle near Gladnell Avenue and East Amber Street, the report states.

Police mistook a shirtless passerby — covered in sweat and unsteady on his feet — for the shooter after he was spotted lumbering down the street, punching mailboxes near the scene of the crash.

The man was surrounded by officers, their guns drawn, as he urinated on a bush. He was taken into custody for public intoxication.

(from the Express-News)

Man, talk about stage fright!

The only thing that would have made this story more strange would be if the driver of the Mustang had crashed into a house. Or at least a fence.

Getting back to basics

I've heard of natural childbirth, but this is a bit much.
SAN ANTONIO -- Trenton David Dietrich is about 2 days old. He was due on Sunday, but early Thursday morning, he decided he was ready to come into this world -- on the front lawn.

He came so fast, his mother, Hildie Dietrich, said she didn't even have time to make it to the hospital.

"By the time I got downstairs and out to the car, she was laying on the ground saying, 'Call 911,'" the baby's father, David Dietrich, said.

On the grass in the Dietrichs' front yard is where Trenton was born.
(from KSAT-12)

Bonus strangeness: What the parents decided to give the kid as a nickname.
She said she and her husband are hoping this grand entrance means big things for the little guy.

"He was born a little star. We call him 'Slider' because he slid into home base," Hildie Dietrich said.
Let's hope no one confuses him with a little hamburger.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Proposed 2011 City Budget Includes $12 Mil. In Cuts"

Now, this really is strange in San Antonio.
SAN ANTONIO -- City Manager Sheryl Sculley laid out her plan for a balanced budget in 2011 to the City Council Thursday morning, which included eliminating 202 staff positions.

The proposed $2.36 billion budget features $12 million in cuts, which are in response to declining sales and property tax revenues, and would set aside $15 million to help balance the budget in 2012, which Sculley anticipates will be another down year economically for San Antonio.
(from KSAT-12)

What a shocker! A governmental entity actually cutting spending in response to hard times while also planning for the financial future. Granted, the cuts and the set asides amount to only 1.144% of the entire budget, but at least they're not talking about raising taxes to make up for the shortfall.

Sculley gets a point from me for this one.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Urban safari

Seen in downtown San Antonio, the elusive round-hoofed hardhead segwaybeast. They often travel in packs, though they are rarely aggressive and tend to shy away from other urban fauna.

If you see one -- or even a group -- watch them carefully, but don't get too close. They may become agitated if blocked from their normal tourist routes.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Overusing "green"

It's official. The concept of "green" now means absolutely nothing. Or it means everything, depending on your view.

In Terrell Hills the legal speed limit is actually 30 miles per hour. But residents want to slow drivers down with plenty of visual reminders. They have put up an astonishing number of signs asking drivers to slow down to 20 miles per hour.

The signs started showing up in yards after a group of neighbors started a new program called the 20 Green Project.

The whole point is to make the area a safer environment for children, walkers, runners, cyclists, and animals by asking drivers to voluntarily slow down.

The program started in May with just a handful of signs, but within just 60days it reached a total of 400 signs.

Supporters say they knew they couldn't legally change the speed limit to 20 miles per hour and feel this was their best alternative.

The Terrell Hills police chief says the city is in support of the idea.
(from KENS-5)

From this, can you tell what the "green" in these crazy signs actually means?

Does "green" mean money? No, this is a volunteer effort, and no one seems to be making any money (except for the sign maker).

Does "green" mean better for the environment? I don't think so, because environmental benefits are mentioned nowhere in the article.

Does "green" mean safe? That seems to be the gist of what these neighbors are doing, but they don't give any reasons why they think the color green should be particularly associated with safety. Green does not mean "slow down" in any context that I am aware of. In fact, it means go in every town that has a traffic light, and that specifically means "step on the gas, buddy; you're holding up traffic."

It boggles the mind. This project seems very ill-conceived, and I can't really understand why any police department would support this effort.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

How to look inviting

I wonder if Dave has eaten here.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Taming the monster

I know duct tape is versatile, but who knew it could contain The Blob?

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Best local headline of the day

"%*#@$!: Dam street closed in Olmos Park"

Yes, the street leading to Olmos Dam -- the dam street -- is closed.

Those of you who travel Olmos Drive will have to find a different route for the next few days.

Crews are getting ready to start repairs on the Olmost Dam bridge.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Gettin' western on the Northeast Side

I've heard of arguments leading to gunfire, but it usually doesn't involve almost a dozen people. In a dispute over a cell phone.

Witnesses in the Glens neighborhood said the incident started with an argument between two people that escalated to a fight involving more than a dozen.

Herman Williams told KENS 5 his friend, the alleged shooter, had no other option but to open fire on the crowd. He said there were nearly a dozen men with guns at his door threatening to hurt him.

Two people were taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds.

Williams said it all began as an argument over a cell phone, an insult directed towards a girlfriend, and a threat.

(from KENS-5)

Doesn't it always, though?

Monday, August 02, 2010

Staying in touch with that side

OK, if some dude is comfortable enough with his masculinity that he doesn't mind wearing a pink shirt in public, I can respect that. I can even respect it if he wants to make it a half-shirt, and that it bears Tony Romo's number.

But I cannot tolerate his screaming like such a little girl.

(Photo taken by Veronica Zaragovia, KENS-5, from a KENS slideshow featuring fans at the Cowboys camp in the Alamodome)