Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Alamo Close-up

The Alamo has been photographed for postcards countless times. We the photographer takes a close-up it makes the postcard difficult to date other than by era or postmark. What few changes that occur can be very difficult to attach a date to. The following postcards are a few that show changes and my best guesses on the time frames.

One of the first things you might notice is the wooden structure attached to the left side of the Alamo. This was the Hugo & Schmeltzer Building. This was built in 1877 and was not completely removed until 1912.
Although it was not completely torn down entirely until 1912 some changes can be seen over the years. In the first postcard above, you can see that the crenelated top extent past the from of the Alamo.  In the second postcard below the crenelated top stops at the edge of the Alamo. The earliest postcard I have been able to find with this section removed was dated Oct. 3, 1905. So by this it would I would assume the any postcard with the complete top is from 1905 or earlier and with the incomplete top from 1905 or later.

The next major change that can be seen in the postcards below, taken from a location further back than the previous cards. As you can see the wooden structure, which had covered the entire south and west facing of the stone building, has been almost entirely removed. My best estimation is that this occurred sometime from mid 1910 to possible very early 1911 ( before April). It would remain this was until early 1912.
The Alamo ca. 1911

In early 1912 the remainder of the Hugo & Schmelzer building would be demolished, leaving only the two story stone wall which was believed to be part of the orignial wall of the Alamo. In 1913 the upper level of this wall would be torn down.
The Alamo ca. 1912

The postcard below, postmarked 1917, shows how the Alamo appeared after the second story of the old convento was removed.

The last major change to the front of the Alamo can be seen in the following postcard. In 1935 a lot of improvements were made to the Alamo property and plaza, in preparation for the centennial celebration to be held in 1936. One of the improvement was the addition of the colonnade added the the right side of the Alamo and extending all the way to Crockett Street.

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