Lesson #6: The Alamo is Downtown

A friend of mine is in San Antonio for a job interview (Hi Rach! I hope the interview went well!) and during the course of a conversation last night she asked, “did you know the Alamo is right in the middle of the city?” I did not. I have neither been to San Antonio nor studied Texas history.

Here’s what I know about the Alamo: It’s in San Antonio and the battle of the Alamo was a crucial point in the Texas Revolution. And something about (Davy,) Davy Crockett (king of the wild frontier!)

Here’s what I learned about the Alamo: It was originally named Mision San Antonio de Valero and was established as a Roman Catholic Mission by the Spanish in 1718 to work at converting the Coahuiltecan people. After a hurricane destroyed the San Antonio Mission in 1724, the site of the mission was moved to its current location and rebuilt. It was secularized in 1793 and in 1800 (or 1803 depending on which website you read) was home to a Spanish cavalry unit that nicknamed it “Pueblo del Alamo” after their hometown of Alamo de Parras and the cottonwood trees that grew along the banks of the San Antonio River. Alamo, it turns out, is the Spanish word for cottonwood. The Alamo was the site of the first recorded hospital in Texas history, which was housed in the Long Barrack and the roof was never completed on the Mission after the first attempt caved in due to a dearth of engineers. Most of what the Alamo is known for is the bold stand of the very outnumbered Texans in their struggle for independence from Mexico in late February of  1836, a 13-day battle they lost, though Texas eventually gained its independence on April 21st of the same year.*

Two quick notes: 1. While much is made of the Missions out in California (several of which I have been to) the Spanish also set up 26 Missions in Texas, of which five are in San Antonio.** 2. Davy Crockett was, at one time, a congressman for the state of Tennessee.***

*More information can be found here, here and here.

**The five San Antonio Missions are the Alamo, a museum currently under the supervision of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, and the Missions Concepcion, San Jose, San Juan and Espada, which form the collective of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, which is run by the National Parks Service.

***A brief biography of Davy Crockett can be found here.

3 thoughts on “Lesson #6: The Alamo is Downtown

  1. James Rardon says:

    It isn’t widely known, but the Alamo did time as a warehouse and a grocery store. After the battle.

  2. Rachel says:

    Additionally, the Americans brutally slaughtered many, many Mexicans on a Sunday by way of sneak attack; Sunday was generally revered as God’s day, even during times of war.

    On an only slightly related note, my brother and I went to the Alamo when he was with me for the move and we almost bought my mother an apron from the Alamo’s gift shop that had a picture of a bull rider and said, “Buckin’ Good Cook!”

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