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by John Troesser

The Alamo - Structure, Grounds & Photos
Battle of the Alamo

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Alamo, San Antonio, Texas
The Most Visited Historic Site in Texas
Photo courtesy Chia-Wei Wang, August 2006
San Antonio is the number one tourist destination in the State and the Alamo the most visited historic site. Even if it's not the sole reason for visiting San Antonio, an effort should be made to see it before leaving town. The same goes for the Mission Trail. They are each important stops on the Texas Grand Tour.
Battle of the Alamo, a painting
Battle of the Alamo
Photo courtesy Texas State Library & Archives
See Battle of the Alamo for details of the events that took place here from February 23rd to March 6th 1836.

We will, however, wade into the Alamo's history before it became the symbol of Texas to the world.

The word Alamo is Spanish for Cottonwood and it is believed by some that the name originated from a nearby cluster of such trees.

During the Mexican War for Independence, Spanish troops occupied the buildings for several years and the soldiers were from a place called Alamo del Parras, Coahuila. This provided another version of the name's origin.

The cornerstone was set in place on May 8, 1744, although the "Mission" was founded years earlier. The Mission was formally called the San Antonio de Valero Mission and its primary purpose was to convert the Indians to Christianity and educate them.
Alamo Centennial restoration detail
The frieze above the doors of the Alamo Museum
TE photo, April 2001

Touring the Alamo Grounds

For such a busy place, there are several corners of the Alamo complex that are quiet and tranquil. One of them is this fountain. The four sides are engraved with the names of four of the defenders. Bonham, Bowie, Travis and Crockett. Squirrels are plentiful and so are doves and other birds that visit the fountain for water.

Alamo Courtyard
TE photo, 2006

Alamo courtyard and fountain
The courtyard and fountain
TE Photo, April 2001
Alamo picture of courtyard and fountain, Alamo old photo
An old photo of the same fountain c. 1945
Photo Courtesy TxDoT
Alamo Museum Exterior, San AntonioTX
The Alamo Museum
Photo courtesy Sarah Reveley, 2008
The interiors of several buildings are filled with displays showing artifacts, weapons and diagrams of the fight. Tour guides can be heard explaining the history to their respective groups and if you wait long enough you can hear the story told in English, French, German, Spanish and even Vietnamese.

Japanese goldfish swim in the channels that once provided irrigation. Look for the stone marker inscribed with calligraphy - a gift from a Japanese professor who drew parallels between the Alamo's defense and defeat with a similar one-sided battle in Japanese history.

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Alamo grounds, San Antonio, TX - Bird's eye view
Bird's-eye view showing Alamo grounds
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/%7Etxpstcrd/
The Cenotaph

In front of the Alamo and to the right, you'll see the Centopath. This is a monument with bas-relief figures of the Alamo defenders sculpted by Pompeo Coppini, who was a resident of San Antonio for many years.
Alamo Cenotaph, San Antonio Texas
The Alamo Cenotaph
The Second Battle of the Alamo by Charley Eckhardt

... But what about the Alamo itself? Not the symbol or the fight, but the physical structure that stands in downtown San Antonio today. What’s happened to the physical basis of the Shrine of Texas Liberty since March of 1836? This is the story of the other battle of the Alamo—how Texas almost lost it forever, who saved it for Texas and how, why we still have it, and who we have to thank for that.

What’s in downtown San Antonio today is not the Mission San Antonio de Valero, but merely the mission’s chapel and a portion of an old convento or apartment known today as ‘the long barracks.’ Everything else on Alamo Plaza postdates the Texas Revolution. The original mission’s compound took in most of the land around the site... more
Boys at the Alamo, 1930s old photo
1930s photo of the Alamo
TE Archives
© John Troesser
  • The Battle of the Alamo
    by Jeffery Robenalt
    After the defeat of General Cos at the siege of San Antonio, Texans thought their independence was won. They failed to understand that General Santa Anna was enraged over the disturbances at Anahuac and Cos's surrender. The dictator would never rest until his soldiers either killed every Anglo-American and Tejano rebel who openly defied his rule or drove them across the Sabine River and out of Texas for good.
  • Alamo Battle drawing
  • The Mass Grave of the Alamo Defenders -
    A Virtually Unknown Feature of the Most Written-about Event in Texas History
  • Eyewitness to the Battle of the Alamo - An Unidentified Mexican Soldier's Personal Account of the Historic Struggle by Murray Montgomery

  • Remember the Alamo, Battle of the Alamo Reenacted by Terry Jeanson

  • Recalling the lesser-known heroes of the Alamo by Murray Montgomery
    Alamo messengers John William Smith and James L. Allen

  • Susannah Dickinson by Linda-Kirkpatrick
    "...Susannah picked up Angelina and followed the officer into the courtyard. It was then that she viewed a site that history books can never describe. The air was still and there was a deafening hush all around. The bodies of the brave dead Texans lay stacked in piles, later to become funeral pyres spreading smoke and history to the sky above..."

  • The Women of 1836, Part III, Mary Millsap by Linda-Kirkpatrick
    "... Mary Millsap, wife of Isaac Millsap, Gonzales Ranger. Isaac was the oldest defender at the Alamo and Mary was now one of the oldest widows..."

  • Letters from the Alamo by Murray Montgomery
    "...I've also had a desire to get my information from the original sources - that is, those folks who actually lived, loved, fought, and died during those turbulent times of early Texas..."

  • Line in the Sand by Mike Cox
    "By March 5, 1836, Col. William Barrett Travis had known for several days that his situation inside the old Spanish mission called the Alamo had become hopeless..."

  • Did Davy survive? by Bob Bowman
    Did Davy Crockett survive the battle of the Alamo, only to be sent to Mexico as a prisoner and forced to work in a mine? The possibility was raised in an edition of Southwestern Historical Quarterly in April of 1940...
  • New Alamo Letter
    Our Initial Correspondence from Mr. David London:
    "I am sending a copy of a letter written by William B. Travis at the Alamo that has been in my family for over 160 years... We have never offered it for sale... It had never been published..."
    From Travis' hand to the State Archives
    or Is there a Graphologist in the house?
    by John Troesser

  • The Spirit of Sacrifice, aka The Alamo Cenotaph by John Troesser

  • Joe by Mike Cox
    The man who witnessed Travis' death at the Alamo

  • Alamo Monument by Mike Cox
    In 1912, a San Antonio group began raising money to build a monument to the defenders of the Alamo. But the memorial they wanted for Alamo Plaza would not be any run of the mill monument. It would be Texas-sized and then some, an architectural wonder...

  • Alamo Hero by W. T. Block Jr.
    Isaac Ryan

  • Killer's Trail of Thread by W. T. Block
    Some Alamo Heroes Fought Twice for Texas

  • George C. Kimble and Almaron Dickinson, Heroic hat makers at the Alamo by Murray Montgomery

  • Savior of The Alamo... Remembering Adina De Zava by Murray Montgomery
    "If it hadn't been for her efforts, the Alamo might well have been replaced by a parking lot."

  • Alamo Letters by Mike Cox
    The impassioned letters Col. William B. Travis sent by courier from the Alamo are dramatic pieces of writing, but they are not the only surviving words of someone who died in the old Spanish mission on March 6, 1836.

  • Alamo Ghosts by James L. Choron
    Dawn at the Alamo
    A ghost encounter, and chilling tales of ghostly experiences at the Alamo.

  • The Alamo's Red River Connection by Bob Bowman

  • Alamo Marksman by Bob Bowman

  • Juan's Cabin by Bob Bowman
    When Juan Antonio Badillo left East Texas in 1836 and enlisted for six months service with the new Republic of Texas, he left two legacies. One, he was one of only a handful of Tejanos - Mexicans born in Texas - who died at the Alamo on March 6, 1836. Two, he left a still-standing log cabin that could be among East Texas' oldest structures...

  • Alamo Cowards by Mike Cox

  • Alamo Survivor Enrique Esparza - Historical Marker. Enrique Esparza is buried in the El Carmen Cemetery in Losoya

    Cartoons by Roger T. Moore

  • March 6, 1836: The Alamo
  • February 8, 1836
  • Alamo Volunteers
  • Alamo by night, San Antonio, Texas
    Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/%7Etxpstcrd/
    Moonlight Reflections at the Alamo by Mike Cox
    Sitting on the short rock wall just across from the old mission, I took a puff from the cigar I’d bought at the Menger Hotel and absorbed the sights and sounds around me...
    Alamo Forum
  • Subject: William Wells Sr-Alamo Defender
    I am the ggg grand son of William Wells S r-- We have a cemetery east of Lindale Texas called Damascus -- His son Willian Jr was buried there in 1882. Thanks. - Bill Wells, Lindale Tx, March 15, 2006
  • Alamo Plaza,  San AntonioT X
    Alamo Plaza
    Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/%7Etxpstcrd/
    The Alamo
    TE photo
    Alamo, San Antonio, Texas
    Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/%7Etxpstcrd/

    Alamo Museum | San Antonio

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