Montclair , NJ San Antonio was at the point, the largest and richest city in Texas. Ithaca , NY
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Spofford wrote that the chapel was "a reproach to all San Antonio. Its wall is overthrown and removed, its dormitories are piled with military stores, its battle-scarred front has been revamped and repainted and market carts roll to and fro on the spot where flames ascended The state hired Tom Rife to manage the building.
He gave tours but did not make any efforts to restore the chapel, to the annoyance of many. In the past decades, soldiers and members of the local Masonic lodge , which had used the building for meetings, had inscribed various graffiti on the walls and statues.
In May a devout Catholic who was incensed that Masonic emblems had been inscribed on a statue of Saint Theresa was arrested after breaking into the building and smashing statues with a sledgehammer.
The 50th anniversary of the fall of the Alamo received little attention. In an editorial after the fact, the San Antonio Express called for the formation of a new society that would help recognize important historical events. Shortly before the turn of the 20th century, Adina de Zavala convinced Gustav Schmeltzer, owner of the convent, to give the DRT first option in purchasing the building if it was ever sold. During De Zavala's attempts to raise the money, she met Clara Driscoll , an heiress who was very interested in Texas history , especially the Alamo.
Shortly thereafter, Driscoll joined the DRT and was appointed chair of the San Antonio chapter's fund-raising committee. The appropriation was vetoed by Governor S. Lanham , who said it was "not a justifiable expenditure of the taxpayers' money".
After hearing of her generosity, various newspapers in Texas dubbed her the "Savior of the Alamo". The bill passed, and Driscoll received all of her money back. Driscoll and de Zavala argued over how best to preserve the building. De Zavala wished to restore the exterior of the buildings to a state similar to its appearance, focusing on the convent then called the long barracks , while Driscoll wanted to tear down the long barracks and create a monument similar to those she had seen in Europe: Unable to reach an agreement, Driscoll and several others women formed a competing chapter of the DRT named the Alamo Mission chapter.
The two chapters argued over which had oversight of the Alamo. Unable to resolve the dispute, in February the executive committee of the DRT leased out the building. In response to de Zavala's actions, on February 12, Governor Thomas Mitchell Campbell ordered that the superintendent of public buildings and grounds take control of the property. Eventually a judge named Driscoll's chapter the official custodians of the Alamo.
Driscoll offered to donate the money required to tear down the convent, build a stone wall around the Alamo complex, and convert the interior into a park.
Both de Zavala and Driscoll spoke, and Colquitt toured the property; three months later, Colquitt removed the DRT as official custodians of the Alamo, citing that they had done nothing to restore the property since gaining control. He also announced an intent to rebuild the convent. The restorations were begun, but not finished, as the appropriations fell short of the costs.
Driscoll, upset over Colquitt's decisions, used her influence as a major donor to the Democratic Party to undermine him. At the time, Colquitt was considered running for U. She told the New York Herald Tribune that "the Daughters desire to have a Spanish garden on the site of the old mission, but the governor will not consider it.
Therefore, we are going to fight him from the stump. We are also going to make speeches in the districts of State Senators who voted against and killed the amendment" to return control of the mission to the DRT.
This conflict became known as the Second Battle of the Alamo. In , Driscoll persuaded the state legislature to purchase two tracts of land between the chapel and Crockett street. As San Antonio prepared to host the Hemisfair in , the long barracks was roofed and turned into a museum. Few structural changes have taken place since then.
The limestone used to construct the buildings was taken from the banks of the San Antonio River. It expands when confronted with moisture and then contracts when temperatures drop, shedding small pieces of limestone with each cycle.
Measures have been taken to partially combat the problem. In , a theater near the Alamo unveiled a new movie, Alamo The minute-long film would be screened several times each day.
The movie attracted much protest from Mexican American activists, who decried the anti-Mexican comments and complained that it ignored Tejano contributions to the battle. The movie was re-edited in response to the complaints, but the controversy grew to the point that many activists began pressuring the legislature to move control of the Alamo to the League of United Latin American Citizens LULAC. The DRT agreed to make their financial records more open, and the hearings were canceled. Many minority legislators agreed with him.
Guerra claimed that the DRT had kept the temperature too low within the chapel, a situation which caused the formation of water vapor , which when mixed with automobile exhaust fumes damaged the limestone walls. These allegations prompted the legislature in to once more attempt to transfer control of the Alamo to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. By the following year, some advocacy groups in San Antonio had begun pressing for the mission to be turned into a larger historical park.
They wished to restore the chapel to its 18th century appearance and focus the complex on its mission days rather than the activities of the Texas Revolution.
The head of the group's Alamo Committee, Ana Hartman, claimed that the dispute was gender based. According to her, " "There's something macho about it.
Some of the men who are attacking us just resent what has been a successful female venture since The dispute was mostly resolved in , when then- Governor George W. Bush vowed to veto any legislation that would displace the DRT as caretakers of the Alamo. In , the office of the Texas Attorney General received a complaint that the DRT had been mismanaging not only the site, but the funds allocated for its management, and an investigation was begun.
After two years, the Attorney General's office concluded that the DRT had mismanaged the Alamo, and cited numerous instances of misconduct on the DRT's part, including failing to properly maintain the Alamo in good order and repair, mismanagement of state funds, and breach of fiduciary duty. As of , the Alamo welcomed over four million visitors each year, making it one of the most popular historic sites in the United States.
A large mural, known as the Wall of History, portrays the history of the Alamo complex from its mission days to modern times. Bush announced on March 12, , that his office would take charge of the daily operations of the Alamo from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. In October , the state announced that it is purchasing three historic buildings on Alamo Plaza. The General Land Office and the Alamo Endowment non-profit association have entered into a cooperative agreement to formulate a master plan for both the Alamo Complex and the Alamo Historic District.
Future visitors can expect a full historical interpretation of the Alamo from its inception to the battle of and beyond. Renewed resistance to the General Land Office's master plan for the site, which envisions a quadrupling of the site to include a , square foot museum, came from the recent consideration to move the Alamo Cenotaph to a different location. Plaque on a wall at the Alamo, recognizing ownership by the state of Texas and custodianship of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.
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