Chili Queens, Hay Wagons and Fandangos
The Spanish Plazas in Frontier San AntonioSnapshots of a more colorful time in San Antonio history
This coffee table book displays more than 100 rarely seen images to bring to life the frontier era of one of America’s most unusual cities, seen through its Spanish plazas. Colorful iconic paintings and drawings mix with 19th century photographic stereoviews and cabinet cards, cropped for impact and appearing with ...
As San Antonio’s frontier era was ending in the 1870s and 1880s, Military Plaza by day was a vivid outdoor market. By night it was a crowded dining venue where storied chili queens dished out spicy meals while saloons and fandango halls pulsed nearby. A cathedral dating from 1738 faced Main Plaza, where Apache chieftains and Spaniards once buried a hatchet, a lance, six arrows and a horse to signify peace. On Alamo Plaza, a demonstration of how barbed wire constrained a herd of cattle changed the course of the American West.
Its plazas were the heart of San Antonio since its earliest days on the remote northern frontier of New Spain. Not long after a railroadin 1877at last provided easy access to the rest of the nation, rapid growth made San Antonio start looking more like cities elsewhere. Chili Queens, Hay Wagons and Fandangos allows us to picture the earlier, more colorful time. Illustrations are accompanied by descriptive captions and a concise narrative.
“The greatest strength of the book is the rarely seen photographs and artwork that bring the plazas to life. Fisher illustrates the book with views of the plazas and their people, as seen through the lenses of the scores of photographers who chronicled life in frontier San Antonio, as well as paintings by fine artists such as Theodore Gentilz and folk artists such as Charles Herff, whose eyewitness watercolor of the desperado Bob Augustine's hanging from a chinaberry tree in Military Plaza in 1861 is fascinating.” — San Antonio Express-News
- San Antonio Conservation Society Publication Award