100-year-old photos show Texas military history

San Antonio is known as Military City USA

Photograph shows soldiers at San Antonio & Aransas Pass Railroad Station posing for photographer before departing for Leon Springs Military Reservation. One soldier is shaving another's hair. (UTSA Special Collections)

SAN ANTONIO – Hundred-year old photos shine a light on some Texas military history and give a glimpse of the past.

The U.S. Armed Forces were officially established in June 1774 — nearly 250 years ago — but San Antonio’s military roots date back to the founding of the San Antonio de Bexar Presidio by Spanish soldiers in 1718.

According to Visit San Antonio, the city has been home to a consistent military presence for roughly 300 years. That’s one of the reasons San Antonio is known as Military City, USA.

San Antonio is also home to the largest and most diverse joint base in the Department of Defense, known as Joint Base San Antonio.

Take a look back at some Texas military history with photos from the University of Texas at San Antonio’s special digital collections.

Unidentified corporal in Company E, 4th Texas Infantry Regiment of the United States army, ca. 1890. Photograph shows full-length studio portrait of the soldier seated next to a Model 1884 Springfield rifle, bayonet, cartridge belt, and box. (UTSA Special Collections)
Photograph shows full-length view of Robert Hall, a resident of Cotulla, Texas and a former soldier, Indian scout, and Texas Ranger. He is holding a rifle as he stands in front of itinerant photographer's backdrop. Circa 1890-1899. (UTSA Special Collections)
Photograph shows Thomas W. Masterson, Jr. standing at attention in soldier's uniform in the yard of the family residence at 422 W. Woodlawn in San Antonio, Texas. Circa 1912. (UTSA Special Collections)
Photograph shows soldiers at San Antonio & Aransas Pass Railroad Station posing for photographer before departing for Leon Springs Military Reservation. One soldier is shaving another's hair. Circa 1917. (UTSA Special Collections)
Photograph shows a side view of an Army fire [pumper] truck at Camp Travis. Soldier and boy on front seat are not identified. Circa 1918. (UTSA Special Collections)
Photograph shows Frank Graff, resident of Hondo, Texas, wearing his army uniform as he sits on stool. He is holding a cigarette. Image altered to show image of a young woman looking down at him from the cigarette smoke. Circa 1918. (UTSA Special Collections)
Loaves of bread for barbecue honoring soldiers returning from World War I, Victoria, Texas, July 4, 1919. (UTSA Special Collections)
Photograph shows veterans passing under the wood and canvas arch on Main Street, at Constitution St. Color guard on right. View looking south, with Diebold Pharmacy on left; First Victoria National Bank (right). Victory Arch, Main Street, Victoria, Texas, July 4, 1919. (UTSA Special Collections)
Returning World War I soldiers eating at barbecue held in their honor, Victoria, Texas, July 4, 1919. They are standing at ''first'' table eating barbecue in the public square. (UTSA Special Collections)

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.