Vintage Photos of San Antonio Businesses That Don't Exist Anymore 

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San Antonio has changed a lot over the years, with a lot of that change attributed to urban renewal. While locals miss businesses like Solo Serve, here's a look at businesses that did not stand the test of time, as well as those who were shut out due to HemisFair '68.

Photos courtesy of UTSA Libraries Digital Collections
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The 1100 block of West Commerce had a lot of businesses in this photo, circa 1965. Here you can see Golden Star Cafe, Botica San Pedro, Plaza Bar and the Moon Lee Cafe. While there's a Golden Star Cafe at 821 West Commerce, none of the other businesses operate today.
In 1946, a photo studio was down the street from the Majestic and Empire theatres. This photo shows a portable "fog" machine that allowed crewmen to spray insecticide throughout what was called the business and theatre districts. Don't worry, the city said this was super safe to residents' health.
San Antonians in the 1960s had to say goodbye to Pete's Bar and Café, which was located at the corner of Goliad and Matagorda streets. Owned by a Pedro Aguilar, the business was demolished to make room for the U.S. Pavilion Confluence Theater for HemisFair '68.
Back in 1937, Shirlee Frocks, Inc. sat at 109 South Pecos Street. Officers can be seen here patrolling the sidewalk due to a group of female garment workers going on strike. The women were demanding higher wages and for three workers to be reinstated after being fired for alleged union activity. In the photo you can also see another business, Cohen's Army Store.
Lawrence "Larry" Williams can be seen blowing glass, which was his business. He operated the shop for 60 years out of La Villita, though he took just a brief break during World War II to serve as a radio operator in the military.
In this 1965 photo you can see Wolff Machine Works, which was owned by Marie T. Wolff. Located at 530 Goliad Street, the business was part of an urban renewal project related to HemisFair '68.
In the early 1960s, Mike the Expert Hatter was forced to relocate his business at 702 Dolorosa Street thanks to "Progress and the Urban Renewal Program in our Fair City," as he put it. The family-owned business was reportedly relocated to Nogalitos Street, but has since closed.
This 1939 photo shows L.G. Hansen and James Walker scrubbing carpet with a huge revolving brush. Hansen owned his own business dedicated to cleaning rugs.
Quality Ornamental Iron Works was previously housed at 617 Water Street. The structure, pictured here in 1964, included both the business and residence of owner Minerva R. Salinas. The urban renewal project of the decade included the iron works business be forced out so the building could be remodeled for use during HemisFair '68. The building was later used by the city's Park Department.
The G.J. "Tano" Lucchese Real Estate Company was formerly housed at 714 W. Houston Street, though the address was previously referred to a 914 W. Houston Street.
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In this 1937 photo shows Domingo Acosta working on a guitar at his family's guitar business. He's using a special homemade device to work on the instrument.
Joseph G. Curry previously owned Curry Manufacturing Company, which was located at 301 Victoria Street. The business was pushed out as part of the urban renewal project for HemisFair '68.
This view from the roof of the Menger Hotel shows a grocery store in the foreground. The store was located on the south end of Alamo Plaza in this 1866 photo. Yes, 1866!
Back in the 1890s, West Houston Street housed the Rote and West Grocers, which can be seen on the left. Across the street was the three-story Soledad Block.
The Leopold Wolf House was no more in order to make way for HemisFair '68. The 606 Goliad Street structure was not only a home to the Wolf family, but also the Wolf Residence Shop, which was a woman's clothing business since the 1920s. By the time the structure was demolished, Leopold's two daughters were operating the business.
Back in the 1930s there was such a business called Crockett Laboratories. This 1939 photo shows manager Nola Boyd reaching for a bottle of screw-worm killer. The business was part of the Livestock Exchange building.
Vasquez Auto Generator and Starter Work, seen here in this 1968 photo, was housed at the corner of West Salinas and Columbus streets.
Huston's Machine Shop, owned by Jay M. Huston, formerly sat at 208 Rusk Street. The business was demolished to make way for HemisFair '68.
Across from Columbus Park sat A-1 Litho Service at 714 West Martin Street. It's seen here in this 1968 photo.
In 1868 (!!!), Zork and Greisenbeck sat on Commerce Street. This retouched photo shows the building, from which the general mercantile business operated on the first level, while Mr. Zork lived with his family on the second floor.
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The 1100 block of West Commerce had a lot of businesses in this photo, circa 1965. Here you can see Golden Star Cafe, Botica San Pedro, Plaza Bar and the Moon Lee Cafe. While there's a Golden Star Cafe at 821 West Commerce, none of the other businesses operate today.

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