The Lone Star State is full of incredible history. We have the Alamo in San Antonio, all of the weird that Austin has to offer, and NASA in Houston. But San Antonio is also home to the Buckhorn Saloon, a historic spot dating back to the 1800s with one of the most incredible taxidermy and horn collections you'll ever see.
It all started when a young bartender by the name of Albert Friedrich was working at the Southern Hotel in downtown San Antonio and decided he wanted to open up his own place at the turn of the century. But he ran into a little problem after he first opened The Buckhorn Saloon in the 1880s. There were travelers who didn't have money to pay for their whiskey at the saloon. So Albert had the creative idea to let them pay with horns and antlers that they could redeem for a free drink. Over the years, there was quite an incredible collection that came together inside the saloon. Eventually, it became a popular tourist attraction.
The collection was known as the Buckhorn Hall of Horns and started drawing in the crowds. Albert even started adding from his own hunting collection. His wife, Emile, also got involved with accepting oddities for drinks and began a collection of rattlesnake rattles. She created art pieces with the rattles, which are still on display to this day. The spot was so popular it was even frequented by Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders and there's a rumor Roosevelt even recruited Rough Riders in the saloon.
Lone Star Brewery purchased the historic saloon in the 1950s and added a Hall of Fins and a Hall of Feathers. But when the brewery changed owners in the late '70s, the entire Buckhorn collection was sold. Luckily, it was acquired by Albert's granddaughter, Mary Friedrich Rogers, and she was dedicated to preserving her family's legacy.
The Buckhorn Saloon and Museum is now located on Houston Street near the famous River Walk. The saloon still features parts of the original structure and the museum features 40,000 square feet of space full of the incredible exhibits which include a 1,056-pound black marlin and a 10,000-year-old elk. In 2006, the museum expanded to open up the Texas Ranger Museum which has historic memorabilia from the Texas Ranger Division including shotguns, handguns, photographs and more. The museum also features Ranger Town which showcases a replica of the Bonnie and Clyde getaway car.
Essentially, the museum is a hot spot for history buffs as well as fans of the Wild West.
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