San Antonio de Bexar: A Guide and History Page: 9
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north of midway on the east side of this Plaza, as at present constituted. As will
be seen on reference to the plan of the Mission as it originally was, both the
Alamo Church and the Convent yard were outside the eastern boundary of the
ancient enclosure known as the " Square of the Mission." This enclosure ex-
tended its northwest corner down Avenue D one hundred feet or more, embracing
with the north-west walls a good portion of the actual building site of the new
federal building. Its western boundary was almost exactly along the sidewalk
past the Maverick homestead across Houston street past the Maverick Bank and
the row of buildings following on the west side of Alamo Plaza. The boundary
all along here, as is most frequently the case with these Missions, consisted of
dwellings and barracks for the use of those connected with or dependants of the
old Missions. Two irrigation ditches or acequias, both of them abandoned many
years ago, ran upon each side of this row of dwellings, one a branch of a branch
and the other a branch called the Acequia del Alamo of the Villita ditch, now
running under the eastern wall of the Church through the Menger hotel on to " La
Villita," which ditch, by the way, is itself a branch of a main acequia (Acequia
Madre del Alamo) which passes farther east from the head of the river and on to
Water street. All these ditches were used not only for irrigating the lands in the
immediate vicinity and belonging to the Missions, but provided water for the
domestic uses of the Padres and their numerous dependants and coadjutors.
Similar dwellings and buildings to those mentioned formed the northeastern
corner of the square. The southern boundary was more prominent on account of
the strongly built entrance and sally-port of the square being there. The build-
ing each side of the entrance were most commonly used as a prison and strong-
hold; further mention of this building will appear later. Hardly a vestige of
these enclosing walls of the Mission Square could be found to-day. The eastern
wall or boundary was also conspicuous for the Convent buildings which it in-
cluded, and upon these Convent foundations Honord Grenet, in the year 1878,
built for a grocery warehouse the inartistic erection now occupied by the firm of
Hugo & Schmeltzer. This property has been condemned by the city (1889) so
that these remnants, too, will in all probability soon disappear before the mandates
of improvement committees; when, all that will be left of this once prominent and
always most famous of the Texas Missions will be those walls in the form of a
cross, which with " ears to hear," caught to themselves the secrets of the closing
scenes of a sublime tragedy. They alone know the last personal results of a
unanimous resolve of desperate but calmly deliberate heroism. Old, battered,
time-worn, silent walls, no word of any single hero's prowess, or separate and
supreme feats do your portals tell. They are carved with emblems and signs of
quite another story. Those deeds are your secret. Nevertheless, echoed from
you, shall be heard the whispers adown the farthest "corridor of time" of a mag-
nificent story of reckless and immovable self-sacrifice.
East of the Convent building, projected from its walls the Convent yard, a
rectangular enclosure, about 100 feet square, surrounded by strong walls, it touched
and joined with its southeast corner the wall of the near corner of the north
wing of the cross formed by the walls of the Mission Church. The Convent
building was 191 feet long, running to the south line of East Houston street, so
no doubt on the north side of the Convent yard was another enclosure proba-
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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/m1/25/: 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.