Our History

Our History

Gracious Hospitality Since 1859

Just nineteen years after the fall of the Alamo, in 1855, German businessman William Menger opened a brewery on the site of the battleground, thereby introducing beer to Texas. When he realized his guests needed a place to sleep, he and his wife, Mary, expanded into an elaborate two-story, 50-room hotel. Opening with much fanfare in 1859, decked out with wrought-iron balconies and a stained-glass-roofed Victorian lobby, the Menger Hotel was an overnight success, ushering in a new era of sophistication on the Texas frontier. A three-story addition was quickly added to meet the demand. Through the years the Menger Hotel has hosted some of the most prominent leaders in U.S. history, including a roster of U.S. Presidents and Texas titans of industry, commerce and politics. Exorbitant cattle sales and oil deals were sealed over handshakes and shots of rye at the bar. And it was at this same bar that Theodore Roosevelt recruited his famous Rough Riders cavalry brigade.

An east wing was built in 1881, including a cherry-wood bar modeled after the House of Lords Club taproom in London, and a 1909–1912 renovation by San Antonio architect Atlee B. Ayres added additional stories and rooms, along with ornamental flourishes to the lobby, in the prevailing neoclassical style. Another renovation in 1949–1950 brought a new wing, and in 1975 the hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Alamo Plaza Historic District. With another renovation in the 1980s, another in 1992, and another in 2016, the genteel hotel today boasts five stories and 316 rooms. Rare antique furniture, museum-quality paintings and historical artifacts enhance its present-day charms.