Preserving the Old Traditions
Old Spanish Trail Magazine August 1920
By J. J. Sterne, President The Wolff & Marx Co. San Antonio
Old Traditions, like old family names, like ancestry and lineage, are one and the same in thought and are cherished out of the same sentiment and for the same reasons.
The late World War taught us that the country’s traditions and name and fame are far more worth while than family, race or individual. It taught us to place country and flag and deeds of valor, for country’s sake, above individual interests. To cherish the landmarks of the Nation, the customs of the people above mere relics, heirlooms or antiques – but to cherish them for the same reasons and out of the same impulses, but above and beyond.
San Antonio, rich in history, in tradition, born of a proud Spanish race, none prouder or greater than these early Castillians – San Antonio the first outpost in Texas of Christian Military – the first American crusaders for reformation and conversion. The first purpose of the Franciscan fathers was to bring to a righteous life the heathen and the untaught – this out of love for old Spain, for her forward movement.
Along the Old Spanish Trail, on the now Military Plaza, in its primitive glory stood the old Governor’s palace – now neglected when it should have been one of the world’s greatest museums, replete with Spanish history and relics of the Spanish occupation.
Along the Old Spanish Trail, devout Fathers bent on world civilization build many missions, five of them in San Antonio, chief of which is the Alamo, rich in sacred history, rich in deeds of valor and rich in glory and traditions, the like of which has never been excelled in the history of men and only once matched – Thermopylae the Mecca for ages of sons to be baptized in traditions of valor. Thermopylae has been outclassed by the modern Romans who defended the Alamo walls. These relics of old have made San Antonio, with its Spanish and Mexican atmosphere, the pleasure and pride of tourists.
One great traveler said of the Alamo, if it was in France, or Rome or Greece, it would be the worlds Mecca and Shrine. Do we appreciate its value, its traditions? Are we alive to its atmosphere, its inspiration, its history, its prestige, its lessons? Is this poet and stranger and lover of the great and good more alive to its charms than our citizens? “It rests with us not to forget the struggles, the toll, the achievements of the Fathers who laid for us the foundations upon which we build.” Should we , commercially mad, forget and allow the old Trail, the old Missions, the old outposts of civilizations, to fall into decay? Should we not for the picturesqueness alone cherish the old Spanish customs, ols Spanish shapes, Architecture, Names, History, Deeds? Are we giving thought to these things or are we forgetting our most cherishes memories, overlooking our greatest advantages?
If we are going to be commercial, why not coin our greatest value? Let us cherish, and protect, and preserve our – nay, the world’s – Alamo for all times as a rich heritage to our children’s children.
“The City Commissioners are developing a Mexican Village in Brackenridge Park, where families are gathering, skilled in Mexican arts, in pottery and lace and other arts” – this should preserve these traditions. Inherent love for folk song and folk music should preserve the Latin love of music. In this a band og good citizens have financed and are sustaining a Banda de Juvenil de San Antonio. To their glory be it said they will raise into life this languishing love. Soon this Banda will be known all over the Southern United States, if not all over. Soon the love of song will awaken the genius for the revival of this Latin love ditty, and soon we may claim the glory of this renascence.
The City Fathers have preserved the atmosphere of the city markets and keeing its color true to traditions. “There the senoritas may promenade one way on their path, while the senors promenade the other on theirs. Black eyes, warm smiles, flash greetings of heart and soul while the Banda de Juvenil plays the romantic airs of their land and their fathers.”
Let us build the sentiment, the soul, the traditions of the Old Spanish Trail while actually building the Highway. Save money if you must on your own expenses; that will give you a sense of satisfaction – but for your country’s glory, for her honor, for her traditions, waste with lavishness your choicest thoughts, your warmest regards; be extravagant in your expression of her past, her future, her prospects, even lavish in your expenditures for the preservation of those things foe which your Fathers laid down their lives and spend most lavishly the blood of their warm hearts.
Let us build the Spanish Trail true to color and tradition.
Preserving the Old Traditions