Texas Day by Day

On this day in Texas history…

Future Eagle Pass civic leader born in Hungary

December 26th, 1885

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On this day in 1885, Sam Schwartz was born in Patrelin, Hungary. He came to America about 1900 and worked for his uncle at El Paso's Popular Dry Goods Company, where his customers included Pancho Villa. In 1910 he relocated to Eagle Pass and, casting his lot with the new motion-picture technology then sweeping the country, bought and renovated an old pool hall and opened the Majestic Theater. The business was a success, thanks in part to the 16,000 National Guard troops garrisoned in Eagle Pass during the Mexican Revolution. In 1915 Schwartz built the Aztec Theater, which remained in family hands until closing in 1982. Schwartz served as mayor of Eagle Pass from 1920 to 1924. He was co-founder of Maverick County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1, which he served as president from 1930 to 1967, and which irrigated tens of thousands of acres in the county; its main canal was the largest in the state. Schwartz served in many other civic roles in the community. At the time of his death in 1969, he was the oldest independent theater owner in Texas.

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