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While admiring the heritage attractions of Alamo, take out a few minutes and peek into the back courtyard and you will find a couple of gravestones honoring cats. Ruby and C.C. were two stray cats that took shelter in the Alamo compound. Their primary job was to take care of the rat menace. Ruby came in 1981 and passed away 1986, while C.C. took up the reins in 1996 and died in 2014. Both the cats were buried at the back of the courtyard where entry is restricted but the graves can easily be viewed from the gate.
The city's upstart addition to the art and museum scene, the San Antonio Art League Museum, makes its home in a restored carriage house in the historic area of King William, just south of downtown. The museum's permanent collection of early Texas and regional art is not to be missed. Touring exhibits are special, too, with recent showings featuring Kate Ritson, Vincent Valdez and Beat Hallermann. Admission is free and donations are much appreciated.
The San Antonio Fire Museum is dedicated to educating visitors on the history of firefighting in the city, fire prevention, and fire safety. See antique fire engines, uniforms, and firefighting equipment on display. The museum also hosts educational programs for people of all ages. A donation is requested from adult visitors, but children under 12 are admitted for free.
Take a peek into the past of San Antonio. This charming district, which was originally farmland, is located on the eastern side of San Antonio River and has found a place in the National Register of Historic Districts. A few buildings, including The Guenther House and The Edward Steves Homestead, are open to public. The Guenther House houses a restaurant, museum and a store while The Steves Homestead is a museum. Self-guided walking tours can be taken so that you can leisurely stroll along the pretty lanes or drop into a restaurant or art gallery. Several events like the King William Fair and Spring Garden Tour are conducted during the year.
Originally built in the late 19th Century and used as a boarding house, Villa Finale got a second life when the building was bought by Walter Mathis. Walter Mathis restored the building to its past glory and started collecting artifacts. Both the home and the collection were given to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2004, and luckily now the public can view the stunning estate. When you tour this house you'll be able to see the lovely architectural design, as well as Texas artwork and European artifacts.
For lovers of history, architecture and antiques, this home is a must-see. Built in 1876, this three-story, French Second Empire-style home belonged to prominent citizen Edward Steves. The interior is decorated with original pieces from the era. Incidentally, the one-story River House behind the home housed the first indoor swimming pool in the city. Since 1954, the San Antonio Conservation Society has maintained the homestead as a historic house museum.