Trivia Question- Does the Alamo have a basement?

 

In recognition of San Antonio’s Fiesta festivities and the celebration of our city’s heritage and culture, we wanted to highlight one of G.W. Mitchell’s most historic projects completed in their 93 years of business. The Alamo’s history is widely known and memorialized by the legendary battle that took place on March 6, 1836 where roughly 200 Texian defenders made their last stand defending the mission. The following month, on April 21st, Texas won the battle of San Jacinto and thus, put an end to the Texas Revolution. During the eighteen-minute San Jacinto battle, Texian forces defeated the Mexican troops, captured Santa Anna and achieved independence to the cries of “Remember the Alamo!” As the centennial of the battle approached in 1936, the entire Alamo complex was renovated, expanded and converted into a park-like setting as a memorial to those who died. A Centennial Museum was built just behind the Alamo church, and soon found use as a gift shop. Proceeds from the current Alamo Gift Shop still support daily operations.

In 1992, The Daughters of the Republic commissioned G.W. Mitchell Construction to excavate and create an 8,000 square foot basement below the 60-year old Sales Museum on the sacred grounds of the Shrine of Texas Liberty. Additionally, a tunnel was dug out beneath the grounds of the Alamo to connect the new basement storage area to vendor access on Houston Street. Along with remaining open to the public during construction, this project called for several other unusual factors that had to be considered and accommodated for such a highly sensitive and historic sight. Archeologists remained on site throughout the duration of construction to monitor any historical artifacts that were uncovered during excavation. Additionally, the filming of James A. Michener’s Texas, a 1994 ABC miniseries, coincided with the basement project which added drastic complications and delays to construction. Lastly, with no staging area available for construction materials, they had to be moved directly to and from Houston Street as needed. Consequently, to attain access to Houston Street, Mitchell was forced to cautiously dismantle part of the existing historical north exterior wall, numbering each individual stone so that they were then able to rebuild the wall and ensure that each stone was put back in its original place at the conclusion of the project.

By February 1993, the project was completed under budget and before the scheduled completion date. The following year, this project was the 1994 local and state award winner in the AGC Outstanding Construction Awards Contest. G.W. Mitchell Construction takes pride and is honored to have been included in such an important preservation project that serves as the heart of Texas history.

Viva Fiesta and Remember the Alamo!

 

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