A Piece of the Alamo

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Piece of the Alamo. Unknown mineralogical sample, probably limestone, taken from the Alamo, San Antonio, Texas. Mid-twentieth century. A portion of the Long Barracks at the Alamo were demolished and renovated in the 1930's and pieces of this structure were commonly carried off as souvenirs.

Originally named Misión San Antonio de Valero, the Alamo served as home to missionaries and Native American converts to Christianity for nearly seventy years. In 1793, Spanish officials secularized San Antonio's five missions and distributed their lands to the remaining residents.

More than 2.5 million people a year visit the 4.2 acre complex known as The Alamo, located on Alamo Plaza in downtown San Antonio and consisting of three buildings—the Shrine, the Barrack Museum, and Gift Shop. The site also includes an American Indian burial ground. Most come to see the old mission where a small band of Texans held out for thirteen days against the centralist army of Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna Pérez de Lebrón. Although the Alamo fell in the early morning hours of 6 March, 1836 the death of the Alamo Defenders became deeply symbolic and mythologized. The Texan Army under Sam Houston shouted “Remember the Alamo!” as it routed Santa Anna at the battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836.The Alamo has been managed by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas since 1905, when they prevented its conversion into a hotel.

In 1936, remains thought by some to be those of the Alamo Heroes, were unearthed during repairs to San Fernando Cathedral. In 1938, these were placed in a small marble casket and displayed near the entrance with a plaque inscribed “Here lie the remains of Travis, Crockett, Bowie, and other Alamo Heroes.” Not all historians agree that these are their remains.

The Alamo Museum has in its collection a piece of the U.S.S. Constitution, Charlestown, Massachusetts.

—Main Street Museum Loan. Collection of John Gilbert Fox


See the Alamo’s official website