17 thoughts on “Conversation: The Alamo is Serious Business, Too

  1. The entire Alamo Plaza is a travesty. It is a circus like atmosphere down there. I would like to see all the entertainment businesses razed, and the Alamo reconstructed to how it actually looked like.

  2. One of my embarrassing moments as a native San Antonian was on a flight sitting next to a young English businesswoman who had been in San Antonio on an assignment. She said she was appalled at the carnival atmosphere across the street from the Alamo. What could I say? Money is more important than reverence for our state’s most sacred site.

  3. I think taking away the entertainment on the plaza is a horrible idea. It’s one of the best attractions on that strip the Alamo can have.

  4. I think the attractions make it fun for families . I truly believe you can incorporate technology, fun and history. If you just put up stuff to read around the Alamo I don’t think our young people will be interested on learning. Now you can get history and fun at the same time.

  5. We have made many trips with our family to San Antonio. Almost every time we go, we go by the Alamo area. We enjoy our trip to the Alamo, the history and reverence of the Alamo itself, as well as the mix of entertainment opportunities. In some cases, the entertainment brings tourists into the area where they can experience the Alamo, when they may not have come simply to vsit a historical sight.

  6. I grew up in San Antonio and I have watched the Alamo Plaza go from a run down, lethargic area to the thriving busy hub it is today. I also remember when the downtown Woolworth building was empty and falling apart. Phillips Entertainment took a big risk to develop the attractions that are there now. Those attractions provide diverse entertainment options for a broad range of visitors to our great city. It would be a travesty to make wholesome family entertainment attractions to move when they have contributed greatly to the wonderful entertainment experience at the Alamo Plaza!

  7. Davis was a child in the 80’s. The Plaza was lively. Very lively. People lived above many of the work spaces. I worked there from ’81-93. We had good restaurants and Woolworth’s. We had a real grocery store, H.L. Green’s. We had a real post office. Many jewelers, architects and attorneys officed on the Plaza. The Crosswalk Deli was very lively and it was a real shame for CoSA to allow that crosswalk to be filled in and turned into restaurant space, forcing people to walk further around that block. Zombies and Wax have a stranglehold on the Plaza. Move his businesses into Rivercenter or build him something specTACKYular on that parking lot just east of the Alamo. Bring back respect to the Plaza. Until his businesses are relocated, this cannot happen. He brings all the tacky to the equation. He can justify it all he wants. It’s still tacky. No one is talking about moving all the businesses out of the Plaza. More melodramatic defensive obfuscation from Mr. Phillips. I pray to God that George P. Bush has a bit of the sentiment that helped his uncle George create the program that restored many of our fine historic courthouses. It’s freakishly clear whose interests Mr. Phillips has in mind. His own.

  8. It’s refreshing to peek behind the curtain and see the other side of this issue from Davis.

    It’s getting far more difficult to connect and engage with people in the smartphone era. Right now, the historical Alamo experience is digestable due to all of the interesting attractions and businesses surrounding it. Having personally played tour guide to many out-of-town friends, going straight to the Alamo and then leaving the downtown area is an incredibly underwhelming experience. The fun attractions across the street are not what’s harming the “legacy” of the Alamo, it’s the 1970s presentation within the Alamo itself, and a presumption that we are a culture of fully engaged, ready-to-learn students. Nowadays people are thinking, “I could have just Googled that,” or “this wasn’t worth the parking fee and the long walk to get here.” The vendors and attractions across Alamo Plaza are fun distractions that make a “day downtown” worth coming out. Removing all the fun and making it a historical learning environment would be, as Davis warned us not to do, pleasing to the designer but not the end user.

    The worrysome part about the smartphone generation is that they aren’t compelled to get out and vote (unless they can do it from their phones) and so this ongoing debate has been dominated by the voice of the vocal minority that believes the attractions need to go away. The astounding number of visitors, number of dollars coming in, and number of smiling faces you see on the Alamo Plaza strip speak volumes to drown out this cause, but alas.

    We root for the underdog, the clever entrepreuer taking on a huge risk, against all odds. We cheer him on, and urge others to #supportlocalbusiness. What happened here is the underdog became successful and now actually *gives back,* providing countless opportunities for his employees, positively affecting the San Antonio economy, and providing entertainment to supplement the Alamo experience… Yet we call him a capitalist and shame him for providing us with exactly what San Antonio needs in order to grow. People are funny.

  9. I used to work for Phillips Entertainment – honestly, I don’t mind all of the Ripley’s owned attractions – at least they are worth the money and are further down the block from the Alamo. All of the Phillips attractions are totally not worth it except for maybe the Haunted House (if you like that sort of thing.) My opinion – they need to move those businesses somewhere else – throw them all into St. Paul’s square or in the warehouses on Houston St. across the highway, but not in front of the Alamo.

  10. Great article. I’d rather see more well run businesses like these establishments in downtown San Antonio. We can’t keep trying to pretend like it’s 1980 anymore. Does the Alamo Plaza need improvements? YES. It needs to be updated with (suggestion) interactive educational displays or mobile device apps..things to keep people engaged in THIS day and age. Also, I see nothing wrong with having some additional fun things to do around it. What is the point of having the Alamo as a tourist destination if you’re just going to walk around, read a few signs, take a few pictures, and then leave? The point is to enrich the entire area by making people want to stay for longer than an hour. It’s economically better for San Antonio as a whole to offer options to our visitors as well as our locals.

    Moving things and segregating the Alamo away from anything that may be viewed as “tacky” by some people isn’t the answer. We need to keep options together for walkability and build around it…the new Hemisphere park renovation is a good start..adding a dedicated bike lane throughout would help as the traffic can get a little hectic between the Alamo and the park..

    Restaurants, grocery stores (bodegas?), more office and apartment spaces are also wonderful ideas but I don’t see these Phillips attractions keeping them away, I only see the lack of vision to incorporate it all together, keeping them away.

  11. The entertainment industry across the street from the Alamo is a reflection of society as a whole. People are becoming dumber and dumber. People need to be constantly entertained because they lack an attention span for anything serious. The express news had an opinion piece today showing a diagram of what a reconstructed Alamo would look like. If this reconstruction would ever happen, thankfully, it would destroy all the ludacris entertainment industry that destroys a reverent site.

  12. Speaking from the viewpoint of the average wage earner, we always made the most of one vacation with our two children. A trip to San Antonio would be centered around fun for each family member. The family of businesses in the Alamo Plaza provides exactly that. When the Phillips family chose San Antonio to locate, the City was more than happy to have them. Their positive business experience should be considered an asset and be included in any plans for San Antonio’s future. It is obvious that Davis has gained a huge respect in the tourism business. It should be recognized and appreciated, along with his willingness to work on the future board to be appointed. The numbers in his interview speak for themselves. Our educators should be teaching the meaning of the historic Alamo. Many historic sites in Texas history can be seen in books, just as they appeared during their time. It seems as though some interest group is seeking to fix something that is not broken.
    As we speak for the many high school coaching friends and families, let’s look to the future Davis Phillips represents and leave the historic Alamo in its refurbished condition to include when visiting the City of San Antonio.

  13. I like having all the entertainment in the downtown area. There would be nothing to do if the entertainment was removed. I feel it doesn’t take away from the Alamo. Davis Phillips runs a very clean and respectable business that contributes to the tax base of San Antonio.

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