That Alamo is an old Spanish mission in San Antonio, Texas. While Spain still controlled Mexico a group of soldiers called Alamo de Parras used the mission as a fort (Battle). The name stuck. Then after Santa Anna decided to bring the Texans under the rule of the central government, his men used it as a fort. The Texans chased his men out, and then used it as a fort themselves (Lord 56). After the Texans died in the Alamo, it was turned into a shrine and is now maintained by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.
The Alamo itself is actually a compound composed of several different buildings. It takes up nearly three acres. In the center of the compound is a rectangular bare space about the size of a city block called the plaza. The south side of the plaza is made up of a one-story building called the low barracks. This side contains the main enterance. Along the west side are several small adobe huts protected by a twelve foot high stone wall. The north side is similar to the west side. Along the east side runs a two-story building called the long barracks. Behind the long barracks is the corral which gives the long barracks extra protection; however, the long barracks are shorter than the east side. Partly filling the gap this leaves is the Alamo church which is in ruins. The church is still the strongest building with four foot thick walls. Various rooms of the church serve as storage facilities and as the powder magazine. The center of the church was turned into a raised platform so that the artillery could use it to command the entire area. However, the church is set far back and leaves a gap between it and the low barracks (Lord 59).
In order to use the Alamo as a good fort, the space between the church and the low barracks was filled with a wooden pallisade. Also the Texans had to build parapets and places to put cannon so the Texans could fire over the walls (Lord 60). The irrigation ditch which provided water to the fort could be blocked from the outside, so the Texans dug a well (Lord 116). The Texans also dug trenches in the plaza to give protection from Mexicans should they get inside the walls.
Near the southeast corner was a small wooden town called La Villita. This town was usually occupied by whatever soldiers occupied the Alamo. The buildings were quite close to the Alamo's walls, so the Texas burned the buildings down (Lord 108).
Currently, the Alamo is in the middle of the metropolis of San Antonio which grew up and engulfed it. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas have taken over the running and maintenance of the Alamo which has served as a shrine since 1905 (Beretta). The Alamo is open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The hours are 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM Monday through Saturday and 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM on Sunday (Beretta). See the Alamo plaza in 360 degree view.
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