San Antonio de Bexar: A Guide and History Page: 11
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the " buildings and property known as the Alamo." In a subsequent suit which
the city lost, Bishop Odin, on behalf of his Church, proved her title to the
Major Babbitt, as has been said, found the whole place in appearance an ab-
solute ruin. The Church building was choked with debris, a conglomeration of
stones, mortar and dirt forming on the inside a slanting heap from the base of the
rear wall to the top of the front " so that a person could run up and look over the
top of the front." Much work was necessary to put the place into anything like
the shape necessary for offices and depot houses, and sheds. The Major set to
work to do this. The Church was first cleared, and deep down in the debris were
found two or three skeletons that had evidently been hastily covered with rub-
bish after the fall, for with them were found fur caps and buckskin trappings,
undoubted relics of the ever memorable last stand. In a later year, March 2),
1878, other skeletons buried at an earlier and apparently more peaceful period,
were unearthed in the Church, and a beautifully carved baptismal font was
brought to light, November 15, 1878. What varied scenes in the life of man it
had witnessed ! One would be tempted to moralize writing for anything else
but the pages of a bald historical guide. The next work done was the repairing
of the front. To restore the upper part of it to its original form was impracticable.
Bare practical utility is the desired feature of any Government Military work.
So the top was finished off in its present modest shape, the rest of the walls were
raised to an equal height, a roof was added, and to assist in bearing up this roof,
two stone pillars were built inside at points in the wings of the cross in line with
the arch pillars. A second floor was added, and in the southwest tower, once a
belfry, an office was made. Other offices were added on the ground floor. A
few troops were at first quartered in the Church, the Convent and yard were also
fitted up for storerooms, stables and sheds. The carcel was also roofed and
cleared, and a serviceable granary was made of it and used as such by the Quar-
termasters for many years. It was demolished soon after the war, the wind be-
ginning this work of destruction in 18(i(6. This old prison building used to stand
east and west across the north end of the garden of the Alamo Plaza and its
foundations were brought to light in 1889, when the leveling of the Plaza, prepar-
atory to laying mesquite blocks, began. The buildings as restored by Major
Babbitt, were used as a Quartermaster's Depot by the United States troops
until the breaking out of the war, when the Confederate authorities used it for a
similar purpose. After the war it was again used by the United States Govern-
ment until the new Quartermaster Depot was ready on Government Hill, on
January ;31, 1878.
In 1877 Grenet purchased the Convent portion of the Alamo property, and
shortly (October 5, 1878) erected the atrocious lumber building before noticed.
Objection was made on the part of the Church authorities to using the Alaimo
Church building as a mercantile storeroom, yet it undoubtedly was used for this
at times. Early in 1883 the State began negotiations for the purchase of the old
Church, and under Act of April 23, 1883, this was done, and on May 16, the
final transfer to the State for $20,000 was made. This was the right and proper
thing to do, and it was but a slight recognition of the valor of the meni to whom
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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/m1/27/: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.