Boots owned by Kathy Lucchese, 1970s

Generations of Texas style

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During the late 19th century, Italian immigrants to San Antonio shared their culture, built community, and started businesses, including the iconic Texas boot brand Lucchese.

Salvatore “Sam” Lucchese was born in Sicily in 1868 to a family of Italian shoemakers. He immigrated to the United States in 1883 with his siblings and settled in San Antonio where he founded the Lucchese Boot Company. His move to Texas was part of a larger movement of Italian immigrants to Texas. In 1870 less than 200 Italians were listed on Texas's census records, but by 1920 the number was over 8,000. Through the support of the Catholic Church, the Italian-language press, and benevolent-fraternal organizations, Italian immigrants established a thriving community northwest of downtown San Antonio, anchored by the San Francesco Di Paola Church and the Christopher Columbus Society Hall.

Initially Lucchese’s boot making shop served the United States Cavalry School at Fort Sam Houston, but it soon expanded. Lucchese’s approach to the making of boots, stressing quality and efficiency, gained loyal customers. Famous for not only quality but elaborate stitching and unusual materials like ostrich and alligator skin, Lucchese grabbed the public’s attention. By the 1960s the brand was worn by everyday Texans and national celebrities like Gene Autry and John Wayne as well as Lady Bird and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Kathy Lucchese (1948–2021), great-granddaughter of Sam Lucchese, was the oldest of the three children of Jacqulyn Mercer Lucchese and Samuel J. Lucchese, who was the president of Lucchese Boot Company from 1961 to 1977. Kathy grew up in San Antonio and worked as a delivery driver for the company when she was in high school. The family had custom boots made for her throughout her life, with her name and initials stitched into them.

After several generations of being run by the Lucchese family, the company was sold to Blue Bell Incorporated, the parent company of Wrangler western wear, in 1970 and subsequently moved its headquarters from San Antonio to El Paso. Today, Lucchese boots are still made in the state and recognized all over the world as an iconic Texas brand.

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Boots owned by Kathy Lucchese, 1970s Artifact from San Antonio, TX
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