During our early exploration of downtown San Antonio, we passed the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum. Two things grabbed our immediate attention; the outside sign claimed it to be the oldest saloon in Texas, and it said there were two museums in one. We love things and places that pique our interest, and this certainly did that. So, exploring it was a must.
Albert Friedrich established the Buckhorn Saloon in 1881. Friedrich continued his father's hobby of collecting animal horns and antlers, then turning them into furniture. He would offer a free beer to anyone who brought in an antler. Not to be outdone, Friedrich's wife, Emile, started her own collection, rattles from rattlesnakes, and turned them into her unique art form. In addition to the horn and rattle collections are taxidermied animals from around the world. According to legend, Teddy Roosevelt supposedly recruited some of his Rough Riders here, as well as in the nearby Menger hotel. Many of the original furnishings are still here, including the back bar (at the time of its peak operation, the saloon was segregated).
The Buckhorn also houses the Texas Ranger museum with artifacts from the origins of the Texas Rangers until today. The backroom bar is centered in an area known as "Ranger Town" ; a re-creation of San Antonio as it was in 1900. Located in the same area is a replica of the Bonnie and Clyde getaway car - a 1934 Ford V8 Deluxe ( the original is in the Ranger museum in Laramie). We spent two delightful days exploring both museums and its lunch cafe.