March 01, 2019

24 Things You'll Only Remember If You're a True San Antonian

San Antonio loves being nostalgic. And part of the nostalgic tendencies includes remembering things that no longer exist in the Alamo City. To do just that, we rounded up 24 things to take you down memory lane if you grew up in San Antonio – or at least been here long enough to feel like you did.
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512 area code
2-1-0 may today be synonymous with the Alamo City, but that wasn’t always the case. Beginning in October 1947, San Antonio (as well as Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Harlingen and McAllen) phone numbers used the 5-1-2 area code. With growth rampant in the area, San Antonio adopted the 2-1-0 area code in 1992. Today, Austin and its suburbs use 5-1-2.
Map via North American Numbering Association
512 area code
2-1-0 may today be synonymous with the Alamo City, but that wasn’t always the case. Beginning in October 1947, San Antonio (as well as Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Harlingen and McAllen) phone numbers used the 5-1-2 area code. With growth rampant in the area, San Antonio adopted the 2-1-0 area code in 1992. Today, Austin and its suburbs use 5-1-2.
Map via North American Numbering Association
The Sky Ride at Brackenridge Park
San Antonians first got to enjoy the well-loved Sky Ride at Brackenridge Park when the attraction opened on November 14, 1964. Perhaps what locals are most nostalgic about, the ride gave a magical view of the park. Due to maintenance costs, the ride was closed in 1999.
Photo via UTSA Libraries Digital Collections
The Sky Ride at Brackenridge Park
San Antonians first got to enjoy the well-loved Sky Ride at Brackenridge Park when the attraction opened on November 14, 1964. Perhaps what locals are most nostalgic about, the ride gave a magical view of the park. Due to maintenance costs, the ride was closed in 1999.
Photo via UTSA Libraries Digital Collections
Bread rolling on conveyor belt on Butter Krust billboard
San Pedro used to be a lot more tempting to drive down, as it was home of the iconic moving billboard from Butter Krust at the Hildebrand intersection. The “Falling Slices” billboard was exactly what it sounds like. Slice after slice would tumble down endlessly from the infinite loaf.
Photo via Instagram / barbacoapparel
Bread rolling on conveyor belt on Butter Krust billboard
San Pedro used to be a lot more tempting to drive down, as it was home of the iconic moving billboard from Butter Krust at the Hildebrand intersection. The “Falling Slices” billboard was exactly what it sounds like. Slice after slice would tumble down endlessly from the infinite loaf.
Photo via Instagram / barbacoapparel
Captain Gus
Ba-ding bing! Older folks will remember Captain Gus from the childhood. The character, played by Joe Alston, was part of the children’s program that ran from 1953 to 1979. The local personality passed away in 1989 at the age of 71.
Photo via UTSA Libraries Digital Collections
Captain Gus
Ba-ding bing! Older folks will remember Captain Gus from the childhood. The character, played by Joe Alston, was part of the children’s program that ran from 1953 to 1979. The local personality passed away in 1989 at the age of 71.
Photo via UTSA Libraries Digital Collections
Joske’s
Work for the Joske’s building began in 1888, though we doubt those San Antonians who would remember are around anymore (call us if you were). In 1939, the store got new life and expanded to become a major department store. Joske’s was also home to the city’s first-ever escalator, installed in the early ‘40s. In 1960, the store began moving toward desegregation in its restaurants. That same year, Joske’s unveiled its seasonal Fantasy Land, a favorite for little ones in the ‘60s. The store finally closed its doors in 1980/1987 and renovated into a Dilliard’s.
Photo via UTSA Libraries Digital Collections
Joske’s
Work for the Joske’s building began in 1888, though we doubt those San Antonians who would remember are around anymore (call us if you were). In 1939, the store got new life and expanded to become a major department store. Joske’s was also home to the city’s first-ever escalator, installed in the early ‘40s. In 1960, the store began moving toward desegregation in its restaurants. That same year, Joske’s unveiled its seasonal Fantasy Land, a favorite for little ones in the ‘60s. The store finally closed its doors in 1980/1987 and renovated into a Dilliard’s.
Photo via UTSA Libraries Digital Collections
Playland Park
In 1980, Playland Park closed for the winter and promised a return. Except, it never did. Usually, the park would reopen its doors around St. Patrick’s Day, but owner Jimmy Johnson decided just to close up shop. The amusement park was a local favorite, having opened in 1943 at the Alamo and Broadway intersection, and home to The Rocket coaster.
Photo via UTSA Libraries Digital Collections
Playland Park
In 1980, Playland Park closed for the winter and promised a return. Except, it never did. Usually, the park would reopen its doors around St. Patrick’s Day, but owner Jimmy Johnson decided just to close up shop. The amusement park was a local favorite, having opened in 1943 at the Alamo and Broadway intersection, and home to The Rocket coaster.
Photo via UTSA Libraries Digital Collections
Keyhole Club
San Antonio may be replete with jazz clubs today, but seasoned residents will remember the OG Keyhole Club. Owned by Louisiana native and jazz trumpeter Don Albert, the integrated club, originally located at Pine and Iowa on the East Side, was founded in 1944. The club gained a reputation, often making San Antonio a destination for traveling musicians just for a chance to perform at the venue. It was such a big deal that Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong and many others performed at the original location, which closed in 1948. Keyhole 2.0 opened just two years later and welcomed the likes of Nat King Cole and Duke Ellington.
Photo via UTSA Libraries Digital Collections
Keyhole Club
San Antonio may be replete with jazz clubs today, but seasoned residents will remember the OG Keyhole Club. Owned by Louisiana native and jazz trumpeter Don Albert, the integrated club, originally located at Pine and Iowa on the East Side, was founded in 1944. The club gained a reputation, often making San Antonio a destination for traveling musicians just for a chance to perform at the venue. It was such a big deal that Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong and many others performed at the original location, which closed in 1948. Keyhole 2.0 opened just two years later and welcomed the likes of Nat King Cole and Duke Ellington.
Photo via UTSA Libraries Digital Collections
Solo Serve
The city may have demolished the building that formerly housed Solo Serve, but the discount clothing store, which opened in 1919, earned its place in SA. Formerly found at 114 Soledad St, the store specialized in irregular clothing and downright defects – but for cheap. If you came from a big family, chances are your folks dressed y’all thanks to Solo Serve. The company was sold in 1979, but held out until 1999, when the store held its final liquidation sale. The building was demolished in 2017, pero long live Solo Serve.
Photo via Instagram / chrstphrbrwn
Solo Serve
The city may have demolished the building that formerly housed Solo Serve, but the discount clothing store, which opened in 1919, earned its place in SA. Formerly found at 114 Soledad St, the store specialized in irregular clothing and downright defects – but for cheap. If you came from a big family, chances are your folks dressed y’all thanks to Solo Serve. The company was sold in 1979, but held out until 1999, when the store held its final liquidation sale. The building was demolished in 2017, pero long live Solo Serve.
Photo via Instagram / chrstphrbrwn
Handy Andy
Before San Antonians swore their dedication to H-E-B, plenty of local folks were all about Handy Andy. The discount grocery chain opened its first SA location in 1926 and had nearly 60 locations across Texas by its peak in the ‘70s. But, the chain declared bankruptcy in 1981 with many locations closing in the ‘90s. In 2012, the remaining stores (reports vary between three or six stores) were sold to a retailer based in Houston.
Photo via UTSA Libraries Digital Collections
Handy Andy
Before San Antonians swore their dedication to H-E-B, plenty of local folks were all about Handy Andy. The discount grocery chain opened its first SA location in 1926 and had nearly 60 locations across Texas by its peak in the ‘70s. But, the chain declared bankruptcy in 1981 with many locations closing in the ‘90s. In 2012, the remaining stores (reports vary between three or six stores) were sold to a retailer based in Houston.
Photo via UTSA Libraries Digital Collections
The Pepsi Peña Show
Starting off on KUKA radio in the mid ‘60s as a teenager, Henry “Pepsi” Peña (right) began his influence on the Alamo City. After landing a gig with support of Pepsi Cola, Peña earned his memorable name and served as host for a  Dick Clark-inspired TV dance show geared toward Mexican-American kids.
Photo via Facebook / San Antonio Oldies RADIO SHOW
The Pepsi Peña Show
Starting off on KUKA radio in the mid ‘60s as a teenager, Henry “Pepsi” Peña (right) began his influence on the Alamo City. After landing a gig with support of Pepsi Cola, Peña earned his memorable name and served as host for a Dick Clark-inspired TV dance show geared toward Mexican-American kids.
Photo via Facebook / San Antonio Oldies RADIO SHOW
The mini-monorail at Hemisfair
As part of the excitement of the World Fair in 1968, a monorail was part of the sprawling Hemisfair attraction. The structure connected the various pavilions together, letting visitors and locals alike enjoy all the sights of the fair. That same year, two monorails collided, killing Emilee Schmidt, a 65-year-old visitor from Missouri, and injuring more than 40 others. After the excitement of the fair, the monorail was only used periodically and was removed in the ‘70s.
Photo via UTSA Libraries Digital Collections
The mini-monorail at Hemisfair
As part of the excitement of the World Fair in 1968, a monorail was part of the sprawling Hemisfair attraction. The structure connected the various pavilions together, letting visitors and locals alike enjoy all the sights of the fair. That same year, two monorails collided, killing Emilee Schmidt, a 65-year-old visitor from Missouri, and injuring more than 40 others. After the excitement of the fair, the monorail was only used periodically and was removed in the ‘70s.
Photo via UTSA Libraries Digital Collections