Visitors look at a bronze model of the Alamo with an Alamo team member.

See the Alamo Through Time

Located in along the Mission Gate and Lunette exhibit, seven bronze Alamo models, designed by George Nelson, depict the Alamo through key moments of its history, over a period of 300 years.

The models were graciously donated to the Alamo by British musician, Phil Collins.

Mission San Antonio de Valero, 1744

Bronze model of the Alamo as it was in 1744.

First founded in 1718, one mile west of its current location, Mission San Antonio de Valero was moved a little way south of its present site in 1719. However, in 1724 a hurricane destroyed the mission, so it was relocated to its present-day site in 1724. For 20 years the mission consisted of a stone Convento and rows of jacals.

Mission San Antonio de Valero, 1785

Bronze model of the Alamo as it was in 1785.

By 1785, Apache attacks had created a need for a new stone wall to be built to enclose the mission. Construction of a new, stone church began to replace the collapsed church of 1744. At this time the mission had a population of 149 indigenous people.

Pueblo de Valero, 1793-1835

Bronze model of the Alamo as it was between 1793 and 1835.

After 72 years as Mission San Antonio de Valero, the site was secularized in 1793 and became known as Pueblo de Valero. Mission lands were distributed to its remaining residents. 

In 1803, a Spanish cavalry company of approximately 100 men with their families were transferred to the old mission from further south in Mexico. The full name of this group was the Second Flying Company of San Carlos de Alamo de Parras. Most old records refer to the former mission site as Valero but by the early 1830s, it came to be called El Alamo.

During the Alamo de Parras Company's years at the old mission, a 40 bed military hospital was established upstairs in the former mission Convento - the first in Texas and the Southwest. The hospital also treated local townspeople. Troops were quartered in a new "L"-shaped barrack by the south Main Gate and other old mission houses. Thatch roofs were added to repair the rotted old roofs in 1814. In the 1820s, the houses on the west wall were deeded to retired soldiers and others as private homes.

Battle of the Alamo, 1836

Bronze model of the Alamo as it was in 1836.

In October of 1835, four troopers of the Alamo de Parras Company were sent to Gonzales to retrieve a loaned cannon. The four troopers were seized, so 90 more solders were sent but were fired on. This was the shot that started the Texas Revolution. The returning Alamo Company soldiers and others started to fortify the Alamo and the town of San Antonio, they dug trenches, put up stockades, reinforced the walls with dirt inside, and built dirt and log platforms with ramps to fire cannons over the walls. 

There were about 500 Mexican troops defending the Alamo and more defending the town across the river for 55 days. After an attack on the town by the rebels, the Mexican troops left, and the rebels took over the fort and town. Surrendering on December 11, 1835, the Mexican troops left and the rebels took over the fort and town. Just over 100 men under Colonel James Neil were left to garrison the site, with men spread both in town and at the Alamo, with about 24 cannons. 

The fort's engineer, Captain Green B. Jameson sent three maps and complex plans for improving the defences with large outer earthworks, however, General Sam Houston suggested the Alamo blown up and the cannon and supplies hauled away as the fort was not defendable. Lack of draft animals prevented this. 

On February 23, 1836, troops of the returning Mexican army arrived in San Antonio and began bombarding the Alamo with cannon. At this time the fort was under the joint command of Colonel William B. Travis and James Bowie with about 150 men. On March 1, 32 reinforcements entered the fort. Conflicting records exist as to the exact number of defenders, totals ranger from as low as 189 or as high as 254. 

After a 13 day siege, the Mexican army attacked before sunrise on March 6. Travis died on the north wall, Bowie in a room by the Main Gate in bed. By the end of the battle, all the Alamo's Defenders were killed, and their bodies were burned in pyres outside the fort. General Andrade was left in San Antonio in command of 1001 Mexican troops, while the rest of the Mexican army marched to the east. The remaining troops refortified the Alamo over three months.

The Alamo, 1836-1846

Bronze model of the Alamo as it was between 1836 and 1846.

Following the Battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836, the Mexican Army left 1001 troops (some wounded) to clean up battle damage and refortify the Alamo. On May 19, 1836, orders arrived to demolish the fortifications and leave. 19 solders of the old Alamo Company, here for almost 40 years, stayed to care for eight badly wounded Mexican solders until rebels arrived, then left. Local Mexican families moved back and restored their private houses on the plaza.

In 1840, the town council passed a law that "loose rock" at the Alamo could be hauled off at 50 cents a cart load. Off and on the new Republic of Texas stationed troops here but twice in 1842 (March and September) the Mexican Army reoccupied the Alamo. In 1841, Sam Maverick started buying up the land around Alamo Plaza to start a subdivision called "Alamo City."

The Alamo, 1861

Bronze model of the Alamo as it was in 1861.

Alamo City subdivision: Samuel Maverick was a South Carolina land speculator who arrived in San Antonio in 1835 just at the start of the Texas Revolution. Sent as a delegate to form a new government at the convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos, he barely missed being in the Battle of the Alamo. Maverick returned after the revolution and in 1841, started buying up most of the land around the Alamo to start a real estate development called "Alamo City." Marking off new streets through the Plaza, subdividing the old fields and yards, he profoundly changed the Alamo into a commercial area. On the northwest corner of Alamo Plaza, he built a two story home and a land sales office. He rented land to the U.S. Army for years but in 1861 was active in the Confederate take over of the Alamo.

U.S. Army supply depot: The annexation of Texas in 1845 led to war with Mexico in 1846. The U.S. Army moved into the Alamo in 1847 and started remodelling it for a military storage and supply depot. In 1850, the old church received a roof and the famous parapet was added after a proposal to demolish the church was over-ruled. In 1861, a pro-slave empire group, "Knights of the Golden Circle," seized the Alamo from the U.S. Army and all of the forts in Texas. During the Civil War, slaves were sold on the steps of the Convento. After the war, the U.S. Army returned until 1875.

The Alamo, 1900

Bronze model of the Alamo as it was in 1900.

After the Civil War, the U.S. Army returned, renting the Church and Convento from the Catholic Church for store houses and offices. 1876 to 1900 was a period of rapid growth of large commercial buildings, which completely transformed Alamo Plaza. 

The Convento was remodeled as a store in 1877 after Honore Grenet paid $20,000 to the Catholic Church for the site. Elaborate wooden porches and fake towers were added to the structure. After the U.S. Army left, Mr. Grenet rented the Church to use as a wine and liquor store. His estate sold it to Hugo and Schmeltzer in 1884 for $28,000.

The State of Texas paid the Catholic Church $20,000 to save the shrine (Church) in 1884. Clara Driscoll paid about $75,000 to save the Long Barrack in 1904. Two years later, the State of Texas reimbursed Driscoll and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas for the Alamo and the DRT was made custodians of the shrine to Texas liberty.