History

Do You Know Where to Find The Fatal Corner In San Antonio?

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The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral is a well-known event due to representation in the media, but do you know about The Vaudeville Theater Ambush which took place on March 11, 1884 in San Antonio? Like countless murders in the Old West, the motivation here was revenge for another murder which occurred two years earlier near the same dusty streets. Today, it is the northwest corner of Commerce and Soledad streets, and it was referred to as The Fatal Corner for years thereafter.

Do You Know Where to Find The Fatal Corner In San Antonio?

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The Vaudeville Theatre in San Antonio was built in 1872 and claims to be the first theater in the United States to use the term “Vaudeville” in its title. Jack Harris became the owner in 1874. Jack’s origin story varies, but sometime after 1850, he moved to Texas and became a scout for the Army. During this time, he served with Ben Thompson. After the war, Jack returned to San Antonio to do police work, and by 1872, he operated the Jack Harris Saloon, which became part of The Vaudeville Theatre in 1874. His influence was far-reaching: he controlled the Mayor’s office, the City Council, the police, and the red light district. Ben Thompson was the popular Chief of Police for the city of Austin and was a known gunman.

Do You Know Where to Find The Fatal Corner In San Antonio?

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In 1880, Ben Thompson was in the club upstairs of the Vaudeville playing faro with one of Jack’s partners, Joe Foster. Ben lost a lot of money and his watch, then left angry, calling everyone a cheat and claiming he would come back and close the theater. Afterward, Harris and Foster sent word to Thompson he was no longer welcome in the Vaudeville. It is rumored the public nature of this proclamation caused ire, and on July 11, 1882, Thompson returned to the Vaudeville where he expressed his intent to stay all night. Thompson had a drink, then departed. Meanwhile, Harris obtained a shotgun and waited for Thompson behind a screen in view of the front door. Thompson returned and stood just outside the doorway. After a brief verbal exchange, two shots rang out, and Harris was soon dead. Ben Thompson turned himself in the next day and was acquitted in 1883.

Do You Know Where to Find The Fatal Corner In San Antonio?
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