In 1858 the Mengers hired an architect, John M. Fries, along with a contractor, J. H. Kampmann, to complete the two-story, 50-room hotel. Up until this point most accommodations in San Antonio were boarding houses, and there were few breweries. The Menger hotel opened in February 1859 and became an overnight success.
Less than 25 years after the Battle of the Alamo, the Menger Hotel opened its doors to a motley bunch of travelers in San Antonio. And through the years, the hotel has hosted many different characters ranging from Presidents: Ulysses Grant, Benjamin Harrison, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, William H. Taft, William McKinley, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Lyndon Johnson, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton; military figures, including Sam Houston, Robert E. Lee and William Hood Simpson; and other public figures, including Oscar Wilde. But perhaps the Menger’s most legendary visitors of all are the dozens of spirits that guests and hotel staff have reported encountering.
The hotel holds the unofficial title of “The Most Haunted Hotel in Texas.” The Menger claims to host 32 different spirits including Richard King and Sallie White, a maid at the Menger who was murdered by her husband and buried at the hotel’s expense.
Embracing its history as well as its ‘hauntings,’ the Menger Hotel, a member of the Historic Hotels of America, offers a ghost tour package as well as an “I love history” suite. I’d love to check it out for myself if ever in Texas!
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