The Alamo. Place of legend
... the Alamo *is* the essence of Texas
. It stands for what Texas is
. The most famous, arguably the most important, battle in the Texas War for Independance
occured here. Everyone
knows about the *Alamo*, right? It's stuff we grew *up* on, Davy Crockett
swinging Old Betsy
as he was overpowered by the oncoming army at last... William Barret Travis
and his famous "line in the sand". James Bowie
, and his famous knife
, on the sickbed but still fighting
, still never surrendering
. This is the Alamo, right? this is Texas.
The Alamo as most people know it is actually not the Alamo of history. Thanks mostly to the movies, when "the Alamo" is mentioned, the only thing that springs to mind is that building that appears on every postcard, teeshirt, poster, shot glass, etc, that one building with its oh-so-distinct facade.
Except that during the battle, that facade was not there, and what everyone thinks of as "THE" Alamo, isn't.
The Alamo (name derived from 'los alamos', spanish, 'the cottonwoods') was a *mission* whose first name was Misión San Antonio de Valero. It was an entire functioning mission community, a for the missionaries to base while they converted the "heathen" indians. It had living quarters, farming areas. It spanned several acres. *That* was the Alamo, the entire complex. The main building left today was only the chapel for the place.
While the battle occoured, the mission had fallen into disuse and ruin; the original facade of the chapel had fallen and decayed. Some sources say the new one is modeled after drawings of the old one, but the fact remails that during the battle proper, the one thing people *think* of when they think 'alamo' was not *there*.
The alamo's not what you think. But that takes not away from its greatness, its power, its legend.