30 Vintage Shots of San Antonio from the 1940s through 1960s 

Share on Facebook
Tweet
Submit to Reddit
Email
Whether you're taking a trip down memory lane with these photographs, or you're learning something new about the history of San Antonio, take time to appreciate these little glimpses of decades gone by.
OF 30
PREV NEXT
Fiesta San Antonio Carnival on North Side of Military Plaza, 1961
Pop-up carnivals have been popular since their invention around the late 1800s, when the Chicago World Fair made them popular. Since then, people of almost every generation have had the opportunity to enjoy the serendipity (and terror) of here today, gone tomorrow amusement parks.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Arneson River Theater, 1963
Construction for the Arneson River Theater was finished in 1941, making it just over a decade younger than the Majestic Theater. Over the years, it’s been home to all types of performances. When the theater isn’t in use (and even when it is), San Antonio River barges are free to pass in front of the stage, sometimes making for incredible improv.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Dale Robertson Show, 1968
Dale Robertson was mostly a TV actor, but his live show visited San Antonio many times during the fifties and sixties. The show photographed above was performed in the San Antonio Convention Center during the Hemisfair ’68, which was the official World’s Fair that year.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Dancers at Record Hop at Oak Hills Country Club, 1959
While sock hops were usually held in gyms and the term was coined for having to remove your shoes before dancing, “record hops” were a dance where you didn’t have to take off your shoes, usually because it wasn’t held on varnished floors.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Fiesta Flambeau: Junior Division Public Schools Float, 1954
Fiesta Flambeau, which is part of the eleven days of Fiesta San Antonio, started off as an idea by Reynolds Andricks to be a night parade led by torches. The parade has influences of New Orleans Marti Gras, but is uniquely part of San Antonio culture.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Interior of San Antonio Convention Center Arena, 1968
What is now the Henry B. González Convention Center was once simply the San Antonio Convention Center, which was originally built as part of HemisFair ’68.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Magician Performing for the Oak Hills Country Club, 1959
The Oak Hills Country Club has been part of San Antonio since 1921, having been originally named “Alamo Country Club.” After it reopened after the Great Depression and World War II, the name was changed to Oak Hills Country Club. Since then, the Country Club has been home to many events.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Businessmen on Carnival Ride, circa 1962
How safe could a carnival ride be in the 60s? According to OSHA, even today’s rides are probably not as safe as you would want them to be, but just look at this photo!
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Walgreens, a 1961 Mercury Monterey, and North Star Mall, circa 1960s
Did you know there used to be a Walgreens in North Star Mall? There was.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Miss Fiesta Presentation and Ball, 1955
Miss Fiesta dates back to the late 1940s. The title of Miss Fiesta appeared among the other Fiesta royalty with the invention of Fiesta Flambeau.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Skip ad in
Brackenridge Park Sky Ride, 1965
Proposed in 1963, the Brackenridge Park Sky Ride was one of San Antonio’s top attractions for many years after it opened, taking guests over the San Antonio Japanese Tea Gardens. Though it closed in 1999 due to the cost of restoration being too high, it was a beautiful attraction for a long time and offered a new look at San Antonio from above.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Poly-Fluff Animal Display During Music Educatior’s Convention, 1969
While the Poly-Fluff Animals brand doesn’t exist anymore, similar products still do.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Easter Egg Hunt at Oak Hills Country Club, 1958
Another small event held at Oak Hills Country Club, the Easter egg hunt is a classic Easter activity, which the Oak Hills Country Club still hosts.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
El Encanto de un Pueblo by Alexander Giraud
El Encanto de un Pueblo (The Magic of a People) was a project by Alexander Giraud, who was a textile designer, among other things. The project was made especially for HemisFair ’68 to showcase Mexican art and style.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
River Barge Cruising down San Antonio River with Tower of the Americas in the Background, 1969
Though the River Walk has been around since at least the 1940s, significant add-ons have been made since its original construction. One of the most notable additions is the one that happened in 1968, which was the first time it was expanded.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Flamenco Dancers Performing, 1968
This photo, like many others in this list, was taken during the World’s Fair that took place in San Antonio in 1968. The theme of the fair was to celebrate the many cultures present in America.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Tower of the Americas Restaurant
The construction of the Tower of the Americas was done because of HemisFair ’68, which was that year’s World’s Fair, similar to the Seattle Space Needle of the 1962 World’s Fair and the Eiffel Tower in Paris of the 1889 World’s Fair.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Current Automobiles on Display at Ford Motor Company, 1968
The above photograph was taken under the Ford Motor Company Pavilion during the World’s Fair.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Café de Paris, 1968
Though Café de Paris, which was located outside of La Maison Blanche, has closed since the taking of this photograph, you can still visit La Maison Blanche today.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Alamo City Jazz Band Onstage at the Pearl, 1968
Nowadays, the Pearl is a great place to get great food, hang out with friends in a spectacularly beautiful spot, and shop, but the Pearl Brewing Company was actually established in the late 1800s and closed in 2001 until its metamorphosis into what we know and love today.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Skip ad in
Girl on Ride in Playland Park, 1962
Playland Park was opened in 1943 and closed in 1980, bringing fun to San Antonio for more than three decades. In its prime, it featured more than fifteen rides, including a wooden roller coaster called "The Rocket," and a funhouse.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Group Drinking Lone Star Beer, 1954
Years before HemisFair ’68, people were still having a good ol’ time in San Antonio. Also, you can still drink Lone Star Beer.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Paddleboats in Brackenridge Park, 1966
Though paddleboats stopped being offered in Brackenridge Park, it’s still a beautiful place to go enjoy the outdoor spaces that San Antonio has to offer.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Canoeing on San Antonio River, circa 1940s
Because of the barges and other commercial water vehicles that travel up and down the San Antonio River, canoeing in this day and age is unadvisable. However, if you’re interested in canoeing within the San Antonio city limits, there are paddling trails available in the city.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Dining on a Barge, circa 1960s
Even though the classic Rio barges were pulled from the water in 2017 and were replaced with Go Rio barges, you can still have a great dining experience on the water just like the people in this photograph.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
La Villita, 1966
La Villita was one of San Antonio’s first neighborhoods. When it was threatened by the construction going on in the Riverwalk, the city gained momentum to have it protected. Today, it’s home to many art galleries, pottery shops, and restaurants.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Migration by Bill Bristow, 1968
The above photograph is of an art piece by Bill Bristow symbolizing the migration of people to the United States.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Joske’s Display Window, 1945
Joske’s of Texas was a department store which found its origins in San Antonio in the mid-1800s. Over the course of time, it was purchased by parent companies, and was eventually sold to Dillard’s in the 1980s.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Ann and Tom Browne’s Toy Store, 1960
Even though toys from the 60s are typically considered by today’s audience as somewhat dangerous, those exact stores would among the most interesting places to go if a modern person was transported back in time.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
North Star Mall Opening Day Time Capsule
North Star Mall was opened in the September of 1960, and in 1985, the time capsule featured in the photograph was opened.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection
Skip ad in
More slideshows
San Antonio Current Staff80 images
1/30
Fiesta San Antonio Carnival on North Side of Military Plaza, 1961
Pop-up carnivals have been popular since their invention around the late 1800s, when the Chicago World Fair made them popular. Since then, people of almost every generation have had the opportunity to enjoy the serendipity (and terror) of here today, gone tomorrow amusement parks.
Photo via Zintgraff Studio Photo Collection