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Menger Hotel: Teddy Roosevelt Was Here
 
By Greg Fieg

The heated pool, fitness gym, jacuzzi and spa were not among the amenities at San Antonio's Menger Hotel (book your stay) when Col. Teddy Roosevelt stopped by in 1898 to recruit a ragtag regiment of cowpunchers, horsemen and frontier drifters to ride up San Juan Hill as members of the Rough Riders in the Spanish American War.

Yet the venerable hostelry - located just steps from the Alamo, River Walk and River Center Mall - looks remarkably the same as when it first opened two years before the Civil War.

The tap room, or Menger Bar, is just as it was when the future president sat at his table and signed up his recruits. While the building has undergone several modernizations, designers have remained faithful to the hotel's Old West ambiance.

Having opened on the former Alamo battlefield less than 25 years after the battle's conclusion, the Menger Hotel is the oldest continually operating hotel west of the Mississippi. No fewer than 30 ghosts are purported to appear regularly. A frontiersman in buckskins, like those worn by Davy Crockett, has been seen as he converses with one or more other unseen spirits, asking them: "Are you staying or leaving?"

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