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Blood of Heroes have stained me by Michaeldavitt Blood of Heroes have stained me by Michaeldavitt
The Alamo Cenotaph

In 1912, a San Antonio group began raising money to build a monument to the defenders of the Alamo. But the memorial they wanted for Alamo Plaza would not be any run of the mill monument. It would be Texas-sized and then some, an architectural wonder.

The Alamo Heroes Monument Association had an architectural drawing prepared to use in the fund-raising process. Whether the association’s architect ever got as far as preparing detailed plans is a bit hazy after all these years, but his rendering survived.

As envisioned, the base of the monument would feature 30-foot statues of four Alamo heroes: The Big Three (William B. Travis, James Bowie and David Crockett) and William Bonham. The monument also would have a museum with displays from each of Texas’ counties.

A giant white stone obelisk would tower above the museum, topped with what looks to a modern eye like a gilded Hershey’s kiss. Beneath the “kiss” was an observation area slightly reminiscent of the University of Texas tower in Austin but with a touch of the orient thrown in. In other words, while the planned monument could be called distinctive, some would say the distinction lay in its ugliness.

The monument’s aesthetic qualities might be called into question, but its scale would command attention. The association wanted the monument to stand 802 feet tall. Indeed, according to a Web site called, the Alamo monument would have been the tallest structure in the United States in 1912 — rising eight feet higher than the Woolworth Building in New York City.

Not only would the monument have been the tallest manmade object in the nation, it would have been the second highest in the world. Only Paris’ Eiffel Tower, built in 1889, would have exceeded it in height.

The Alamo monument also would have reigned as the tallest edifice in the U.S. for another 18 years. Not until 1930 did the building at 40 Wall Street in New York top 800 feet. In Texas, the Alamo monument would have been the tallest structure until 1982, when the 75-story JPMorganChase Tower opened in Houston.

Even today, the monument would have been the tallest in the world. As it is, Texans have had to settle for the 1936-1939 San Jacinto Monument, which rises 570 above the ground where Sam Houston routed Santa Anna’s army on April 21, 1836.

The Alamo monument would have cost an estimated $2 million to build in 1912. Unfortunately, the association did not succeed in putting together enough money to get the project off the ground.

In 1939, a monument to the Alamo finally rose across from the old mission, but impressive as it is, it’s puny in comparison with the 1912 plans. Designed by Pompeo Coppini, an Italian sculptor transplanted to Texas, the Alamo Cenotaph stands a mere 60 feet above the pavement.

The Alamo Cenotaph

The surviving rendering of the monument proposed in 1912 could not be called particularly attractive, but it would have given San Antonio – and Texas – a tourist attraction rivaling the Alamo itself. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why the association had trouble raising the money. An 802-foot monument would have overshadowed the old mission literally and figuratively.

~ Mike Cox
Add a Comment:
glunac Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013   General Artist
It's a gorgeous photo, wonderfully clear & crisp. Have never seen this monument before. Did not know it existed. Thanks for posting.
Michaeldavitt Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Professional Writer
San Antonio is a great city really fun. If you get a chance I would like to recommend a book I just finished. enjoyed it very much

"The Boy Kings of Texas" [link]
glunac Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013   General Artist
Thank you for the book recommendation. Have added it to my book list.
Michaeldavitt Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Professional Writer
I know you will enjoy it!
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Submitted on
January 13, 2013
Image Size
5.9 MB


10 (who?)

Camera Data

Shutter Speed
10/1600 second
Focal Length
30 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Nov 12, 2011, 8:31:54 AM