Heritage, Volume 15, Number 1, Winter 1997 Page: 8
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IN ADDITION TO THE TRENCHING, MORTAR SAMPLES WERE TAKEN TO
AID IN DETERMINATION Of WHICH WALL SECTIONS WERE COLONIAL
AND WHICH WERE ADDED LATER BY THE U.S. ARMY, AND THE
LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION WERE RECORDED Of A POLICE
SUBSTATION THAT ONCE STOOD OUTSIDE THE CHURCH WALL.
Photographs on this page. Above: An exposure
of the foundation of the south wall of the Alamo
church is pictured, 1995. Photograph by Barbara
Meissner, Center for Archaeological Research,
The University of Texas at San Antonio.
Below right: A team of archaeologists is shown
working in front of the Alamo in 1977. Photograph
by Jack Eaton, Center for Archaeological
line of the old presidio stands
the Spanish Governor's Palace.
The last presidio building
to withstand the wrecking
crews, this was first constructed
as the presidial
captain's house. Rescued
from obscurity in 1928, this
small, one-story building
was meticulously restored by
architect Harvey P. Smith
and has since been maintained
as a museum by the
city. At the time of its restoration,
Smith used archaeological
methods to locate
and identify buried walls of
the original building and
help him try to rebuild it as
it once existed. Subsequent
addition of a park in 1977
and total renovation of roof drainage and
wall plaster during the past year have been
preceded by archaeological investigations to
retrieve vital information on original ground
levels and the condition of foundations.
San Fernando Cathedral faces the Main
Plaza, with its back to Military Plaza. A
classical Gothic revival nave and twin bell
towers were added to the original Spanish
colonial church in the 1870s. Archaeological
investigations during installation
of air conditioning ducts in 1975 revealed
the foundations of the original much
smaller church and bell tower. In addition,
archaeological investigations in 1977
uncovered the original foundations of the
sacristy, in order to allow its accurate reconstruction.
For many years, archaeology has made
important contributions to historic preservation
throughout the United States, but
nowhere has it been better utilized and
appreciated than in San Antonio. This is
due, in large part, to the vigilant concern of
local preservationists that our history be
accurately portrayed and that our unique
historical structures will continue to exist
for the enjoyment of future generations.
Anne A. Fox is an archaeologist with the
Centerfor Archaeological Research, The University
of Texas at San Antonio. She was
involved in the archaeological work at the
sites has added appreciably to our understanding
of the early lives of San
Antonians about which little was previously
known. Publicity about these findings
have led landowners, architects,
and building contractors to think ahead
and investigate the history of their proposed
building sites. Of course, the
active presence of a City Historic Preservation
Office serves to encourage their
The Old Military Plaza, once the site
of the Spanish presidio, is now occupied
by the San Antonio City Hall. A historic
building in its own right, the city
hall has been kept in good repair and is
a still-handsome structure after 100 years
of use. Across the street and on the wall
8 HERITAGE -WINTER 1997
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 15, Number 1, Winter 1997, periodical, Winter 1997; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45400/m1/8/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.