Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Alamo, San Antonio Texas

The Alamo Shrine surrounded by the city of San Antonio, note the raised sign for the Crockett Hotel behind it.
We arrived in San Antonio on Monday and have been having a great time enjoying the city. Our first stop? The Alamo of course!
The Alamo is located in the middle of downtown San Antonio surrounded by high rise hotels and tourist shops. It is not the setting I pictured but once inside the walls you forget the bustle of buses and jackhammers and people going to work. You remember that you are in a shrine. You feel the history as you remember the names of the pioneering men and women that died here. You absorb the sense of reverence that surrounds you.

The well in the central courtyard. These live oaks are not witness trees being only 142 years old.
The walls of the Alamo surround a courtyard that has been planted with huge sprawling Live Oaks that provide shade and quiet. The gardens have footpaths winding through them with benches and chairs that allow you to rest and quietly reflect. The missions central well is still maintained. There are many displays throughout the mission that detail the history of the place. There is an open courtyard theater area where docents who are very good storytellers share the tale of the 13 day siege that makes The Alamo such a memorable part of our American History. Surrounding the courtyard are several cannons, including the famous "Come and take it" 6 pounder.

The "Come and Take it" cannon a 6 pounder that became a rallying cry for the Texian rebels

The Long Barrack is set up as a museum housing artifacts of the battle. As you walk through the long narrow building various displays explain the history of the mission as well as the battle.

The church serves as a shrine to the 189 men from 23 States and 5 Countries who died here. Walking the grounds the names of those historic heroes run through your mind. Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, William Travis and so many more.

General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna approached San Antonio in March of 1836 as the provisional Texas government declared it's independence and the Republic of Texas was created. San Antonio was an important center for commerce as well as a military stronghold. Santa Anna aimed to reclaim San Antonio and to squash the rebellion.
Alamo Cat

As he approached the Texian forces retreated across the river and took refuge within the walls of The Alamo. The Texian's held their position for 13 days, asking for help and hoping that reinforcements would arrive in time.

They did not. The defenders of the Alamo held their ground deciding die fighting against overwhelming odds rather than surrender to Santa Anna.

March 6th 1836, the day of the battle those 189 soldiers were overtaken by Santa Anna and his thousands of trained Mexican Army soldiers. All except for 20 women and children were killed and their bodies burned in a gesture of disrespect to the combatants. Those few survivors had sheltered within 2 rooms of the church. They were released by Santa Anna with warnings for Texians that they too would be attacked if they continued the revolt.
Santa Anna continued his bloody march North showing "no quarter" to those rebels he encountered. The Texians were retreating as far as Louisiana when General Sam Houston attacked the Mexican forces at Buffalo Bayou and captured Santa Anna under the battle cry of "Remember the Alamo".
The signing of the Treaty of Velasco in May of 1836 recognized the Republic of Texas.

Cactus Garden in the Courtyard
The Alamo was built in the early 1700's as a Spanish Mission in an effort to colonize what is now the state of Texas. It was originally called San Antonio de Valero. There are two buildings that are original to that time period, the Long Barrack and the Church. Both have been fortified and repaired over the years.

Free Mason's were here too.
The Alamo was sometimes occupied by Mexican and sometimes by Texian forces over the 10 contentious years of the Republic of Texas. It was occupied by the US Army as a depot in 1846 once Texas became part of the United States except for during the Civil War when Confederate troops were there.
In 1876 the Army moved to larger facilities at Fort Sam Houston and the grounds of the Alamo were claimed by the Catholic Church and the City of San Antonio. Over the next 30 years the buildings were used as a warehouse, a grocery store and a police substation. In 1903 amidst proposals to tear down the long barrack to build a hotel school teacher Adina de Zavala  and Clara Driscoll the daughter of a wealthy rancher were instrumental in procuring and preserving the Alamo under the custodianship of The Daughters of the Texas Revolution.
You can see more of our photos of the Alamo in our Flickr Album.

The Alamo
300 Alamo Plaza
San Antonio Texas

(210) 225-1391

open daily 9-5:30
no admission fee

Remember the Alamo Statue

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