Legendary Watering Holes

Legendary Watering Holes : The Saloons That Made Texas Famous

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Saloons, barrooms, honky-tonks, or watering holes - by whatever name, they are part of the mythology of the American West, and their stories are cocktails of legend and fact, as Richard Selcer, David Bowser, Nancy Hamilton, and Chuck Parsons demonstrate in these accounts of four legendary Texas establishments. In most Western communities, the first saloon was built before the first church, and the drinking establishments far outnumbered the religious ones. Beyond their obvious functions, saloons served as community centers, polling places, impromptu courtrooms, and public meeting halls. Here, the spotlight is thrown on four celebrated saloons: Jack Harris's Saloon And Vaudeville Theater-San Antonio; Ben Dowell's Saloon-El Paso; The Iron Front-Austin; The White Elephant-Fort Worth; Selcer and his coauthors start with the origins of each establishment and follow their stories until the last drink was served and the places closed down for good. They discuss all aspects of the business: the owners, the liquor provided, the entertainment, the troubling issues of segregation by race and gender, and the way order was maintained - if it was at all. Along the way they consider the ornate bar construction, old floor plans, the liquor suppliers, the attire of the gentlemen gamblers, the variety of casino games that emptied men's pockets, fatal shootings that occurred, and more. Vintage photos of the establishments, along with some of their more famous customers, further take the reader back to the Old West.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 160 x 238.8 x 30.5mm | 635.04g
  • Texas A & M University Press
  • College Station, United States
  • English
  • 11 line drawings, 24 b&w photographs
  • 1585443360
  • 9781585443369
  • 2,411,268

Review quote

"This volume nicely crosses over between well-researched social history and popular history. Students of urban growth, regional history, 'saloonography, ' prostitution, alcohol use and gambling will profit from these four case studies. Buffs in the cities under study as well as those who favor good tales of Texas history will also enjoy the book. . . . the writing style is clear, spirited, and engaging, with enough colloquialisms to charm. . . . Instead of a distant bird's eye view of the topic, with a surfeit of generalizations, the authors take us right into the heady, often raunchy and violent lives of these Texas watering holes. They do an excellent job of highlighting colorful and important personalities, vivid events, and also providing wider political and economic contexts. The treatments of drinking, prostitution, and gambling are historically accurate. . . . this is popular history at its best. Descriptions are vivid. . ."--Richard W. Slatta, North Carolina State University, author, "Simon Bolivar's Quest for Glory: The Mythical West, Comparing Cowboys and Frontiers"--Richard W. Slatta, North Carolina State University, author, Simon Bolivar s Q"show more

About Nancy Hamilton

Richard Selcer, a long-time adjunct professor of history at Cedar Valley College in Dallas, Texas, and at the International University in Vienna, Austria, lives in Fort Worth, Texas. David Bowser is now known as the "historical detective" of San Antonio, where he has lived for more than twenty-five years. Nancy Hamilton, a past president of Western Writers of America, lives in Texas. Chuck Parsons is the author of Captain L. H. McNelly - Texas Ranger. He lives in Luling, Texas.show more

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