Scenic USA - Texas
|Photos by Jim Cook|
Jim Cook Photography
A sprawling four acre mission in San Antonio, today’s Alamo is the most visited historic site in Texas. Managed by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, there is no admission fee, but the site relies on donations and revenue from gift shop sales.
Likely the most recognized of all the Texas missions, construction of San Antonio de Valero began in the mid 1700s and ended with a similar fate as other missions. Never seeing full completion, the structure’s history is fixed on the strong desire of Texas independence and a rebellious battle against 2000 Mexican troops. Famous American’s garrisoned at the Alamo, then called Bejar, included co-commanders William B. Travis and James Bowie. Another famous woodsman and pioneer, Davy Crockett, also fought alongside 150 Texan rebels.
Misconceptions and myths of the Battle of the Alamo abound. For certain, the struggle at the Alamo was over more than just control of a fort, but was fought to control San Antonio, a city of 2500 people. Lying on a main transportation route in Mexican Texas, San Antonio was key to controlling the province. While President and General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna pushed to centralize the Mexican government, it was essential to squash the Texas rebellion. But once word spread of the massacre, battle cries of remember the Alamo inspired many Texans to join the movement. The Battle of San Jacinto, led by General Sam Houston, soundly defeated the Mexican army.
Looking out of place today, the Alamo is surrounded by modern San Antonio architecture. Unseen in most photographs, the city setting may surprise first time visitors. Entertaining nearly three million visitors a year, the Shrine of Texas Liberty stirs up old memories of John Wayne and elementary school history lessons.
More San Antonio Missions
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