Menger, William A. dressed as the chief of the Alamo Fire Association Number Two, n.d.
Standing portrait of William A. Menger dressed as the chief of the Alamo Fire Association Number Two, n.d. Menger organized his company five years after the first San Antonio volunteer fire company, the San Antonio Hook, Ladder, and Fire Company (originally the Milam Company), had been founded. His impetus was likely a major fire in the central business district in 1859 that the San Antonio Hook, Ladder, and Fire Company had been unable to contain. Both companies lost many members during the Civil War as participants left to fight in Texas Confederate regiments and had to be reconstituted at the end of the conflict. William Menger may have also played a role in the creation of Number Three volunteer fire company in 1866, which was composed of black freedmen and former slaves. Company Number Three founder Jasper Thompson operated a barber shop in the Menger Hotel. For more information, see Shirley Lerner, “Growth & Change – The San Antonio Fire Department 1884-1900,” San Antonio Fire Department (accessed March 18, 2013).