Remembering the Alamo
Alamo by flickr user johnkoestier
Almost everyone has heard the words “Remember the Alamo,” but do you know the story behind them?
Today, "the Alamo" can refer to both a critical battle in the Texas Revolution, as well as an actual place in San Antonio, Texas. Constructed in 1724 by the Spanish church, the Alamo was originally a Spanish missionary, designed to convert the area's indigenous populations to Christianity. It wasn’t until the early 1800s that the Spanish military, and later the Mexican military, began using the Alamo as a fortress. In 1835, Texan revolutionaries ousted the Mexican army from the fort, occupying it until what has become the legendary Battle of the Alamo. For 13 days in 1836, roughly 200 Texans held off a siege by some 1,000 Mexican troops, led by General Santa Anna. The fort finally fell on March 6, but not before a few familiar names---David Crockett, Jim Bowie, and William B. Travis---would make their mark on history as American heroes.
Nowadays, tourists flock to the Alamo, a 4.2-acre stretch of gardens and historical buildings such as The Shrine and The Long Barrack Museum. These places house exhibits on Texas history, and give a sense of what the Alamo was, and continues to stand for, to this day.
And now, for some trivia. Did you know...?
- The Alamo was originally called Misión San Antonio de Valero
- Each year, the Alamo gift shop sells roughly $10,000 worth of Davy Crockett coonskin caps
- Alamo means “cottonwood” in Spanish
- There is a legend that Colonel Travis drew a line on the ground, and whoever stepped over it volunteered to fight. It is said that all men but one stepped over it, and gave their lives to defend Texas
- The Alamo has been managed by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas since 1905, and is owned by the state of Texas
- Musician Phil Collins has an extensive collection of Alamo memorabilia. He recently published a book called The Alamo and Beyond: A Collector's Journey
The Alamo is open 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. During June, July, and August, their hours are extended: Fridays and Saturdays until 7 p.m.