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The Candelari Collection - Christmas in San Antonio (1966)

Steve Candelari

Silent | 1966

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  •  At Lackland Air Force Base 
  •  Exploring the Chinese Tea Garden 
  •  Christmas tree outside the Lone Star Brewing Company 
  •  O’Henry House Museum 
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In this home movie from December 1966, the Candelari family visits relatives in San Antonio. First stop, the Lackland Air Force Base, where a couple poses in front of a Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star aircraft. Next, the family explores the Japanese Tea Garden, then called the Chinese Tea Garden, in Brackenridge Park where they see all kinds of animals, including peacocks, camels, and flamingos. Then, they visit the Lone Star Brewing Company, posing with a Christmas tree decorated with antlers. Last, they tour the O’Henry House Museum, the former home of famed writer William Sidney Porter.
The Japanese Tea Garden opened in San Antonio’s Brackenridge Park in 1918, converting an abandoned quarry into a complex of walkways, stone arch bridges, and a pagoda. In 1926, the city invited local Japanese-American artist Kimi Eizo Jingu and his family to move to the garden to maintain it and open the Bamboo Room, a cafe where light lunch and tea were served. After Jingu’s death in the late 1930s, his family continued to maintain the garden until 1942, when they were evicted as a result of anti-Japanese sentiment during World War II. A Chinese-American family then operated the facility until the 1960s, renaming it the Chinese Sunken Garden. In 1984, the park was rededicated as the Japanese Tea Garden in a ceremony attended by Jingu’s children and representatives of the Japanese government.