SAN ANTONIO – The Alamo is a former Franciscan mission in the heart of downtown San Antonio and it’s one of, if not the most, recognizable buildings in Texas. But have you seen it as far back as 140 years ago?
Construction began on the famous mission, known as San Antonio de Valero Mission, in 1718 and it was converted to a fort in 1803.
The earliest known photo of the Alamo is actually a daguerreotype which is first publicly available photographic process. It was taken in 1849 and shows three men standing outside the landmark.
Photos from the University of Texas at San Antonio’s special digital collections show photos of the Alamo throughout history, with one of the oldest photos dating back to the 1870s.
According to a description on UTSA’s digital collections site, the photo below was taken from Dreiss’s Alamo Drugstore in Alamo Plaza ca. 1882.
The photo below shows the interior of the Alamo with an inscription that reads “Interior Alamo. Erected 1738. San Antonio, Tex.”
A Japanese monument donated by Professor Shigetaka Shiga, from Tokyo, is shown below in a photo from 1914. The monument is dedicated to the “heroes of the Alamo” who defended the mission from Spanish forces led by Santa Anna for 13 days. “Remember the Alamo” later became a battle cry during the Mexican-American War, according to History.com.
Some photos don’t just show the old mission but also the area surrounding it. Below is a photo that depicts the Alamo along with Alamo Plaza ca. 1935. Palm trees and old cars can all be seen, in addition to pedestrians in the distance.
The Alamo and the Alamo Cenotaph monument which commemorates the Battle of the Alamo can be seen in the photo below which is thought to have been taken sometime around 1940.
The Texas Historical Commission blocked a controversial plan to move the Cenotaph in September 2020. The commission denied the city of San Antonio’s permit to repair and relocate the monument to outside of the historic footprint of the mission courtyard, several hundred feet to the south of its current location. Read more on that here.