When people think of saloons, they think of the days of the Old West when saloons were the most popular spots in town. There would sometimes be two to three saloons in one small town. These were the busy hubs for people traveling through, for trail riders at the end of a cattle drive, and for the residents of the town. A saloon was the major point of interest in the West during the 1800s. A man by the name of Albert Friedrich was a 17 year old bartender when he decided to open his own saloon in 1881 in San Antonio. The Buckhorn Saloon & Museum is now a tourist destination in the San Antonio area.
Albert Friedrich accepted many horns and antlers as payment for drinks at his saloon, and today the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum houses many of these horns and antlers along with many species of fish, and other animal artifacts that have amazed people for many years. The museum features animals from all of the world’s seven continents, and fish from the seven seas. Many animal oddities are also included. It also has Friedrich’s original record holder prized ’78 Point Buck’. This rack was sold to him for only $100.00, and is now priceless.
Albert Friedrich was a very creative person. His ingenuity helped to lead him to become a very important person in the days ofbartering. During the prohibition in the United States when it was illegal to sell alcohol, Albert had the good sense to sell non alcoholic beverages in his saloon. The towns people and travelers continued to pay with whatever thay had that was of interest. In 1922, the Buckhorn made a move to the corners of South Flores and Houston Streets. Many of the other saloons were unable to survive without alcohol sales, so they closed their doors. Albert helped to recoup his revenue from the loss of alcohol sales by selling lunches along with the non alcoholic beverages, and this was successful.
Albert’s wife joined her husband in the business by accepting jars containing rattle snake rattles as payment from customers. She used the rattles to make crafts and work of art that are still placed in the museum. In 1956, the Buckhorn Saloon was purchased by the Lone Star Brewery. They built a facility that would serve as a hospitalilty room, and house the original bar, and the collection. In 1996, Stroh’s Brewing company decided to dispossess itself of the Buckhorn leaving the future of the museum very dismal.
The Buckhorn Saloon and Museum has changed ownership through the years, but is now back in the Friedrich family with new owners, a grand daughter and her husband. It is located at the corner of Houston and Presa Streets in San Antonio. People can continue to see the first cherry wood bar and the marble columns that were originally in the first saloon. The famous Hall of Horns still remain, and the works of art the Albert’s wife provide are still a part of the museum. In 2006, the Texas Rangers Museum was added to the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum. This addition came with authentic artifacts from Texas Rangers that include automatic hand guns, badges, and shotguns.
The Buckhorn Saloon and Museum is an interesting attraction for people of all ages. It is part of the historical sights in the area, and offers some insight into what life was actually like in the days of the Old West. It is a popular tourist attraction, and it has been visited by more than 150,000, or more, people every year.
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