National Geographic : 1947 Dec
For Fiesta Week, Twins Do a Mexican Dance In China Poblana costume (regional dress of Puebla. Mexico), Marcile (left) and Marcia Howe perform at San Martin House, oldest structure (1730) in La Villita (page 816). So devoted are the girls that one refused to pose without the other. as "arbitrators," were checked behind the Buckhorn bar. Desperadoes were wont to ride into town from hide-outs in the hills for an evening's whoopee. Gambling houses were wide open. Cockfighting was promoted on the plazas (and still is, at last reports, in rural neighborhoods). Bullfights were not unknown to the Mexican quarter. A fight between a bull and a lioness attracted national attention. Winner: the bull. In those days San Antonio won the nickname "Un sainted Anthony," and its county, "The Free State of Bexar." A marker on Military Plaza identi fies the site of the Council House fight. In 1840 the citizens held con ference with the Comanches, just off the warpath. Peace proposals getting nowhere, the braves drew bows and scalping knives and ran whooping toward the river. Fighting by their side were squaws dressed as warriors. Red men barricaded themselves in houses; flaming turpentine evicted them. Armed with rocks, a citizen known as "Old Paint" stood off a berserk brave. By evening the In dians had lost 33 dead, the citizens seven. Under the Texas Republic the city became infested with so many horse thieves that vigilantes formed a com mittee. A tree on South Flores Street was named in honor of their leader, one Mondrag6n. So many men were hanged from its branches that a rhymester wrote: The law of Mondragon All Texas will endorse, That here in San Antone You must not steal a horse. Incidentally, no San Antonian pro nounces his city's name to rhyme with Mondragon's. I was amused by a recent motion picture whose villain directed a hench man in words something like these: "Ride down to Hondo and round up a hundred gunmen." Hondo, 40 miles to the west, was built partly by the peaceful sons of refugees from German militarism. Gunplay had no part in their amuse ments. San Antonio has a thick sprinkling of their cousins. Its breweries, flour mills, several big stores and banks have been in German family hands for years. They give San Antonio the air of a Cincinnati or Milwaukee.