San Antonio de Bexar: A Guide and History Page: 8
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SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR.
The Alamo Church as it is in 1890.*
The foundation stone of the Church was laid on May 8th, 1744. A stone in
the carved front bears a date of 1737 ; it is uncertain what this date means; it
may be the date of the Church's dedication. Giraud shows (Yoakun's History,
App. Iv.) that the Mission was founded in 1703, on the Rio Grande, and after
being twice removed to different sites it was finally brought to Sail Antonio by
order of the Viceroy of New Spain, the Marquis of Valero, May 1st, 1718. A
printed copy obtained from Rev. Father Bouchu, Padre at the Mission Espada,
of " Informe Oficial del Conde Revilla-gigedo, Virey de M6jico al Rey de
Espaia, 1 798," concerning the Missions of Texas, relates that the " ereccion " of
this Mission dated 171G6. The Mission was secularized with the others by decree
of Don Pedro de Nava, April 10th, 1794. The famous siege began February 22d,
1836. The " Fall of the Alamo " occurred March (6th, 183;.
A visitor to-day at " The Alamo," will be met at its entrance by the worthy
janitor, Capt. Tom Rife, a Texan of pioneer days. He guards the building with
a jealous care it is indeed a pleasure to note in these days of the irrepressible
relic hunter and wall scribbler. The visitor will be given in short the particulars
of the foundation of the Mission and the church. A description will be given him
of the desperate stand to the last man of Travis, Bowie (the inventor of the cele-
brated bowie knife), " I)avy " Crockett, Bonham, and their companions, in de-
fense of their countrymen's liberties and the independence of Texas. One hun-
dred and seventy or more men, with sublime recklessness, decided that they would
never surrender or retreat. Death to each was the cost of this magnificent temer-
ity. He will be shown the arch pillars upon either side, evidences of a massive
arched roof and dome, the remains of the towers, with the vaulted ceilings to the
ground floor cells, the connection of the place with the convent from the choir,
the cruciform of the Church, the site of the dome, the room used as a powder
magazine during the siege, which is interesting for its massive walls and strong,
vaulted stone roof or ceiling, and for the fact that it was here that Evans was
shot in a last vain endeavor to set fire to the residue of the ammunition and that
in all probability it was here that Bowie was bayoneted on his sick bed too ill of
typhoid fever to do anything but set a high example of admirable fortitude and
courage. The present roof, some of the upper windows and floorings and other
improvements, the visitor will be reminded are modern. The captain will be
found ever ready to answer the questions that naturally arise to those not too
familiar with the Alamo's eventful history.
Some Further Notes on the Alamo.
And their flag floated out on the breeze
Like tremulous hands stretched forth to bless."
The building now commonly known as the Alamo, and which is really the
Church of the Mission of the Alamo, or of San Antonio de Valero, is on the east
side of the Alamo Plaza, its carved front faces west ; it stands at a point a little
* "Alamo" is the Spanish name for the cottonwood tree, a species of poplar quite common upon the banks
of Texas rivers and creeks: its timber is in demand for the beauty of its texture; on account of the height of its
close foliage it makes a favorite roosting place for wild turkeys. The Alaimo seems to have been built in a grove
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Corner, William. San Antonio de Bexar: A Guide and History, book, 1890; San Antonio, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143549/m1/22/: accessed March 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.