|The Most Visited
Historic Site in Texas
Photo courtesy Chia-Wei Wang, August 2006
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.
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
courtesy Texas State Library & Archives
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.
TE photo, 2006
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.
TE Photo, April 2001
|An old photo
of the same fountain c. 1945
Photo Courtesy TxDoT
|The frieze above
the doors of the Alamo
TE photo, April 2001
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.
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.
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
to the Battle of the Alamo - An Unidentified Mexican Soldier's Personal
Account of the Historic Struggle by Murray Montgomery
the lesser-known heroes of the Alamo by Murray Montgomery
Alamo messengers John William Smith and James L. Allen
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..."
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..."
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..."
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..."
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...
Hero by W. T. Block Jr.
Trail of Thread by W. T. Block
Some Alamo Heroes Fought Twice for Texas
C. Kimble and Almaron Dickinson, Heroic hat makers at the Alamo
by Murray Montgomery
by Mike Cox
The man who witnessed Travis' death at the Alamo
Different Kind of Alamo Story by Clay Coppedge
Alamo commander William Barrett Travis' slave, Joe, who the Mexican
soldiers spared from execution, reported seeing a Black woman "laying
dead between two guns" in the battle's aftermath. She was the only
woman to die at the Alamo. Until recently, her identity was a mystery.
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.
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
Marksman by Bob Bowman
Cowards by Mike Cox
Spirit of Sacrifice, aka The Alamo Cenotaph by John Troesser
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...
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."
Ghosts by James L. Choron
Dawn at the Alamo
A ghost encounter, and chilling tales of ghostly experiences at
Alamo's Red River Connection by Bob Bowman
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...
Survivor Enrique Esparza - Historical Marker. Enrique Esparza
is buried in the El Carmen Cemetery in Losoya
the Alamo, Battle of the Alamo Reenacted by Terry Jeanson
Cartoons by Roger T. Moore
6, 1836 - The Alamo falls
6, 1836: The Alamo
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
|1930s photo of
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...
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,
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/%7Etxpstcrd/
showing Alamo grounds
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/%7Etxpstcrd/