The Emily Morgan San Antonio - a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
The history of The Emily Morgan Hotel is cloaked in mystery and fable. Its namesake, Emily D. West, was better known by her given name of Emily Morgan after she adopted the surname of her master, Colonel James Morgan, for whom she was an indentured servant during The Texas Revolution.
Six weeks after the legendary Battle of the Alamo, on April 16, 1836, Emily Morgan was captured along with other members of her household by the Mexican army and was forced to travel with the forces of General Antonio López de Santa Anna. The Texan and Mexican armies both crept towards San Jacinto, a priaire nearby.
On April 21, the Texan army, led by Sam Houston, ambushed the Mexican campgrounds, where no guards were posted, allowing Houston's forces to win the Battle of San Jacinto in less than an hour. While no official record exists surrounding the details of the unguarded Mexican camp, it is rumored that General Santa Anna was preoccupied with Emily Morgan during the pivotal battle cries, missing them completely and not alerting his troops.
It is largely unknown what the fate of Emily Morgan became after this monumental loss for the Mexican army, however it is thought that she was able to flee the state of Texas to her original home of New York.
Beyond the property's namesake, The Emily Morgan Hotel has seen many changes since its inception on September 16, 1924. Built by famed architect Ralph Cameron as a pinnacle of classic Gothic Revival architecture, The Emily Morgan Hotel was originally constructed as the Medical Arts Building on the Alamo Plaza. The triumphant building sits 13 stories tall, arching up to the sky and boasting the gorgeous materials of cast iron, ornate detailing, and a gilded copper roof.
From 1924 through 1976, the Medical Arts Building served as a working hospital, comprised of medical wings and doctors' offices. For nearly a decade, the building lay dormant to be used as office space. In 1977, the Alamo Plaza Historic District, where the Medical Arts Building is situated, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1984 after renovations, The Emily Morgan Hotel was poised to open its front doors to its first guests. Since its opening day, the hotel has welcomed guests near and far to experience its classic luxury accommodations.
The hotel received the San Antonio chapter of American Institute of Architects's prestigious Twenty Five Year Distinguished Building Award in 2010. In 2012, The Emily Morgan Hotel experienced an onslaught of building updates, as the hotel joined the Doubletree by Hilton group and featured a multi-million dollar renovation.
Emily Morgan's legacy leaves much to be desired, as the fable features many whispers of events that were said to be true, with much speculation. It is said that the famed ballad "The Yellow Rose of Texas" was inspired by her involvement during the battle between Texas and Mexico. However the details are cemented in the memories of Texans, her story has resonated as an essential part of Texas history, seeping through the hotel's historic walls and influencing the travelers who visit and discover this unique tale.