Thursday, June 5, 2014

Those Places Thursday: The Alamo in San Antonio, Over the Years

It's a silhouette instantly familiar to any Texan - the Alamo.  An absolute must-see for those of you going to San Antonio for the Federation of Genealogical Societies' 2014 Conference in late August.  It's an easy walk from the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, site of #FGS2014, or you can buy a one-day pass for VIA Transit and ride the Red (301) or Blue (305) Circulator buses to the Alamo and other sites downtown.

The photos above and at left were probably taken in the summer of 1944, when my mother, Geraldine Margaret Guokas, was 15.  Looks like her family of origin made a trip from their home in Houston to San Antonio, as there are other pictures from other locations in the city when Mom and her mother and siblings are wearing the same clothes.

In the photo above, Mom is at left with her younger sister Jo Ann in the middle and her older brother Charles Peter III (1927-1999) at right.

In the photo at left, Mom is again at the left, with her mother (my maternal grandmother) Sara Melzine Wolfe Guokas Archibald (1907-1997) in the center, and my aunt, Mom's sister Jo Ann (now Sister Jean Marie Guokas) at right.

Below are photos from four of the visits I've made to the Alamo (so far) in my lifetime. (On my latest visit in April 2014, I took a photo of the nearby Cenotaph.)
summer 1969
January 1980, with my first cousin Donna Pape
summer 1997
Grandkids Adam and Heidi Brown, stepdaughter Kim Gresham Williams, and grandson Drew Brown, June 29, 2012
April 6, 2013
On the visit with the offspring in 1997, my then-young son was having trouble visualizing the battle, particularly since the Alamo today is surrounded by development, and much of the original mission walls and buildings (so important in the battle) are gone.  To get a better feel for the battle, you might want to do what we did - go to the AMC Rivercenter 11 Theater (even closer to the Convention Center) and see the 48-minute IMAX movie Alamo: The Price Of Freedom.  I'd also suggest visiting Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo or one of the other Spanish mission sites in southern San Antonio to see what the Alamo complex might have looked like at the time of the battle.  I'll write more about Mission San José and the other missions in a future post.

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.


  1. The first time I visited the Alamo I was so surprised that it was among big tall building and you had to position the camera to get them out of the snapshot.

    1. Yes, the city has really grown up around it! Thank you for commenting, Claudia!