On this day in 1890, the United States War Department designated "the military post at San Antonio" as Fort Sam Houston in honor of Gen. Sam Houston. Originally established in 1845, the "Post of San Antonio" started land acquisition and construction in the 1870s, becoming the second largest in the United States Army by 1891. Fort Sam Houston has played a prominent role in the annals of military history. The First United States Volunteer Cavalry, better known as Teddy Roosevelt's "Rough Riders," mobilized in San Antonio and received their equipment from Fort Sam Houston's depot. In 1910 the army's only airplane came to Fort Sam Houston, and its flight there marked the birth of military aviation. Fort Sam Houston was even involved in the filming of several motion pictures, including Wings (1927). The post played a critical role in training and deployment throughout World War I and World War II, and Fort Sam Houston alumni make up an impressive roster of top commanders, including Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger and Brig. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.
On this day in 1842, Mexican general Adrián Woll, with a force of 12,000 men, captured the city of San Antonio. Woll's expedition was part of the continued skirmishing that went on between the Texas Revolution and the Mexican War. Woll's army was repulsed by Texan troops in the battle of Salado Creek on September 18, evacuated San Antonio two days later, and returned to Coahuila. The Mexican government hailed Woll's Texas campaign as a success, promoted him to major general, and awarded him its Cross of Honor. Texans responded to the attack by launching the Somervell and Mier expeditions.
On this day in 1933, the State Parks Board acquired 198 acres of the Ottine Swamp in Gonzales County and designated it Palmetto State Park. The land was deeded to the state by the city of Gonzales, the Texas and New Orleans Railroad, and several private owners. In 1934 the Civilian Conservation Corps built several structures of native stone at the site, including a dining hall which the National Park Service later designated as one of the outstanding park buildings in the country. The Ottine Swamp, named for early settlers Adolf and Christine Otto, results partly from overflow from the San Marcos River and partly from a group of small sulfur springs. Before the 1950s the area had numerous warm springs, mud boils, and peat deposits, but drilling for oil and water has lowered the water table, and many of the unique hydraulic features have dried up. Scottish botanist Thomas Drummond discovered a native phlox in the area which is now cultivated around the world.
On this day in 1891, the Solsona Dramatic Company, a family-operated, Spanish-language, professional dramatic company was reportedly attracting large audiences in San Diego, Texas. After arriving from Laredo at the end of the previous month, the Compañía Dramática Solsona had first attracted small audiences, but its popularity quickly grew. By March 1892 the company had apparently moved to San Antonio and performed each Sunday on a regular basis at the Teatro Salón San Fernando, which operated loosely under the auspices of San Fernando Cathedral. The bill included a full-length drama of a moralistic, instructional nature with religious overtones, followed by a juguete cómico, a short comic play with songs. Compañía Solsona greatly helped to establish the theater as an important gathering place for the Mexican-American community in San Antonio.