Alamo gift shop reopens after renovations

Lt. Col. William B. Travis' 'Victory or Death' letter on display Feb. 23-March 7


With words from Lt. Col. William Barrett Travis' famous "Victory or Death" letter, a look-alike used a knife to cut the ribbon for the grand opening of the Alamo's museum gift shop Friday morning.

The tourist attraction and revenue source for the Alamo reopened after a month long renovation job.

"They took it down to the walls and then they painted everything this sand tone color that you see," said Larry Laine, deputy land commissioner with the Texas General Land Office, describing the work that went into overhaul the historic site.

Laine said the project also included rebuilding artifact and display cases, and adding 21st century electrical wiring.

The renovations, he said, cost between $250,000 and $500,000 — money he believes is well-spent on a site that helps with the financial support of the Alamo.

"All the revenue from this does the renovations, does the maintenance, does the long-term projects," Laine said.

Once the ribbon was cut, a small crowd cheered and applauded.

Laine said the opening day excitement, though, is only a hint of what is soon to come.

Later this month, the document known as the "Travis Letter" will return to the Alamo for the first time since it was written in 1836.

Travis wrote the letter in the midst of battle, promising to fight until "victory or death" against the Mexican army.

The letter has been stored in the Texas State Library and Archives in Austin, and never before displayed at the Alamo.

"We're excited," said Laine. "It's just an awesome opportunity for people to come here and see something that was done in dire straits."

The Travis Letter will be on display at the Alamo Feb. 23 through March 7.