“The Crockett block buildings have been
taken over by a sad
assortment of tawdry
curiosities, such as the
Tomb Rider 3D ride
and arcade and the
Guinness World
Records Museum.
A little farther down
Alamo Street are the
Louis Tussaud’s Plaza
Wax Museum and the
Ultimate Mirror
Maze Challenge.”

~ Gary Cartwright, 
Senior Editor,
Texas Monthly
November 2008



Reclaim rollover



What is Historic?

San Jose missionAlamo facade     What makes a location or
a building historic?
What is the criterion for designating something as a historical place? What distinguishes “historic” from “non-historic?” Is age the deciding factor, or is it something more? If the answer is “age,” then where do we draw the line between a structure that is historic and another that is just…old? By strict definition, a site or a building that is truly historical will have some significant or unique event attached to it – like the Alamo. These questions must be answered honestly and logically as we debate the disposition and value of the old buildings on the west side of Alamo Plaza.

Palla bldg for rent    One of the key proposals in the Alamo Plaza Project is the reclaiming of the western property and the re-establishment of the West Wall structures. To accomplish this essential part of the plan, the existing buildings known as the “Crockett block buildings” will have to be removed by providing for their relocation to a new venue. Moving a building is not an uncommon feat. In fact, it happened right in San Antonio in April of 1985.

    To make room for the proposed Rivercenter Mall, the Fairmount, a classic Victorian three-story brick and iron commercial hotel/retail building built in 1906, was moved five blocks from its original location at theFairmount Hotel crown corner of Bowie and Commerce to its new home on South Alamo next to La Villita National Historic District. The Fairmount relocation project provided an additional benefit to Texas history as significant artifacts from the Battle of the Alamo were found that verified the location was one of Santa Anna's artillery batteries. The project was successfully accomplished with the generous support of the San Antonio Conservation Society. This achievement of engineering can be replicated in Alamo Plaza.Fairmount relocated

   Several buildings now occupy the space where the Alamo's West Wall was located. The oldest, The Crockett Block Building, was built in 1882 and is quite remarkable in features. But what of the others? What truly constitutes a real historic building? Is it only age? Is it unique in its design? Does it have a story? If so, what is that story? Does it really need to be located here? These are the very questions that have been presented to historic places all over the country, and the answers are as varied as the actual sites. Perhaps the most important question of all is – what makes Alamo Plaza unique? Woolworth Building

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