The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 395
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Author Curtis has succumbed to the temptation to deal at
length in quite fancy words and phrases with the sensational
aspects of San Antonio's past. Several chapter headings are indica-
tive. Chapter I is entitled "A Century of Pleasure"; Chapter III,
"Wild and Woolly San Antone"; Chapter IV, "Red Light in San
Antone." These subjects make lively reading, but other writers
have exhausted both the style and the topics, and the reader grows
a little weary of them.
Much better is "A Walk into Yesterday," in which the writer
takes the reader on a tour of Commerce Street many years ago
before it was superseded by Houston Street as San Antonio's lead-
ing downtown retail thoroughfare. Among the buildings visited is
the first home of the San Antonio Light, Harnisch & Baer's Con-
fectionery Shop, the pioneer homestead of John James, Wagner's
Bazaar, the old Groos Bank, the "Hummel Palace," the home of
the "Polly-Matilde" Club, Colonel George Washington Bracken-
ridge's bank, and the Goggan "Palace of Music." This is authentic
historical material, well presented in verbal pictures.
One of the popular institutions in San Antonio in those days
was the barber shop. This ad in an old issue of the San Antonio
Express has an appealing flavor: "Rev. Nace Duval respectfully
announces that he has fitted up an excellent suite of rooms and
a large and commodious bath-house opposite Moa's Jewelry Store,
where he is prepared to shave, shear and wash gents in the most
fashionable style. He keeps on hand Batchelor's celebrated magic
hair dye." Ah, the good old days.
Chapters in which the author has made valuable contributions
to San Antonioana are those dealing with La Villita, the Menger
Hotel, Mexican Christmas Eve, MacArthur's school days, the
Rough Riders, Fort Sam Houston, Julian Onderdonk, the painter,
St. Mark's Church, the San Antonio River, and San Antonio street
names. For these chapters applause is in order.
Summing up, while Curtis' work obviously has its faults and
inadequacies, it does add much to the growing body of San An-
tonioana. It is written with such warm-hearted enthusiasm, admi-
ration, and affection for its subject that the reader is won over.
The book is well printed, sturdily bound, and greatly enhanced
by thirty-two excellent full-page photographs.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956, periodical, 1956; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/m1/421/: accessed January 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.