Makeover may reverse ravages of time, elements on Alamo

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Texas allocates $32M towards makeover of the Alamo.

SAN ANTONIO — The man who long-headed San Antonio’s Chamber of Commerce has grown tired of the reaction he receives from the visitors he takes to the Alamo, the highly recognizable monument to Texas independence and the state’ most-visited tourist site. The clamor of city traffic, the modern hotels and office towers rising up around the surprisingly small building have diminished the stature of the white stone-walled structure with its distinctive curved facade. The state of Texas has also heard the complaints and the legislature has set aside $32 million to transform the Alamo and the plaza in front of it for the first time in more than a century. It is planning a facelift that will preserve its history and restore dignity to the square where a momentous event in state history unfolded. “The problem is, it doesn’t look like John Wayne’s movie set,” said Richard Bruce Winders, the long-time official Alamo historian, referring to the iconic 1960 film where Wayne played Alamo defender and famed frontiersman Davy Crockett.

For most the 20th century, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, an underfunded heritage organization, has managed the building ever since it prevented a portion of the grounds from being sold to a hotel developer in 1905. But over the past three years, the state wrestled control from the group, and has looked to a brighter future thanks in part to musician Phil Collins, who fell in love with the Alamo watching the Davy Crockett TV show in England in the 1950s and collected pieces of its history. Last year Collins, who has earned the status of honorary Texan for his largess, donated the largest privately held collection of Alamo artifacts to the state, on the condition that a world class museum be built to house it. An Alamo Endowment, headed by some of the state’s best fundraisers, has vowed to raise as much as $300 million to help with the project, on top of the money set aside by lawmakers. Dinnin said there are so many layers of history from the Spanish colonial time, the battle, and the industrial build up of San Antonio into the seventh most populous U.S. city.

But Winders points out some of those buildings were originally developed by Samuel Maverick, one of the founders of Texas whose name coined the term “Maverick,” which originally referred to his unbranded cattle herd. “We need to respect that, at the end of the day, it did its job.

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