With GLO In Charge, Signage Clutters Alamo Plaza

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The Alamo Welcome Center greets guests and schedules tours on June 24, 2019.

Stephanie Marquez / Rivard Report

The Alamo Welcome Center greets guests and schedules tours as they arrive to the historic battleground.

Oft-criticized for its failure to curb commercialism on Alamo Plaza, the City of San Antonio turned management of the historic city park over to the Texas General Land Office.

Millions of people presumably have passed through there since then, and the first thing most see is a caboose red, shiny metal, faux Alamo Welcome Center – there in the middle of the plaza where there used to be a small table stand with an umbrella shading a vendor of icy cold raspas. It was 99 degrees when I was there, and I definitely would have found a snow cone more welcoming.

Anyway, visitors’ first glimpse of the distinctive Alamo-shaped parapet is on this booth. Why? Well, that’s obvious. It’s shiny red, and the Alamo, with its ancient limestone walls pales by comparison. The Alamo might be free, but the Alamo prefers you to pay for headsets or tours. It requires the bold red to make sure you do not miss the opportunity.

While the General Land Office deems the stately Cenotaph nearby as inappropriate for the battlefield site, the powers that be evidently consider this carnivalesque booth a perfect fit.

In case you somehow manage to miss the warm welcome this booth extends to you, there are other signs strategically placed around the plaza. And there is the opportunity to purchase a photo taken right up close by the Alamo door.

But the appropriateness of the tenant mix and their appearance on the west side of Alamo Plaza was top among the complaints aired by many, and supposedly the state solved that with the General Land Office’s purchase of a row of historical buildings there. A new Alamo Museum is envisioned for the area.

Alamo Plaza on June 13, 2019

Stephanie Marquez / Rivard Report

The familiar look of Alamo Plaza will drastically change in the coming years.

In the meantime, millions of visitors pass by. Strangely, among the most flagrant violators of the sign ordinance governing the Alamo Plaza Historic District is the Official San Antonio Visitor Center, with flamboyant advertisements completely covering one of its windows, and the Del Sol Color Change shop located next door to the Official The Alamo Store. The GLO evidently is not able to request its tenants abide by tasteful signage regulations.

But, hey, one can never have too many signs addressing Alamo Plaza. So both the San Antonio Visitor Information Center and the Official The Alamo Store plop illegal signage boards right in the middle of the sidewalk.

As a final update to how the Texas General Land Office is managing one of San Antonio’s most treasured plazas, there is a mysterious Christo-like treatment between the Alamo Chapel and the Menger. I peeked in and could determine no function, but it does arouse one’s curiosity.

Welcome to the improved (?) version of Alamo Plaza.

10 thoughts on “With GLO In Charge, Signage Clutters Alamo Plaza

  1. How could anyone think a gov office could run the Alamo better than the Daughters, descendants of those who fought and many died there, who love it and it’s history so much. The state was responsible then for it’s maintenance, which was always tardy in supplying it.

  2. I took the same photo and was going to write a Letter to the Editor but we’ve all grown weary from the struggle. While it certainly needs better interpretative and interactive features, I, too, was distressed by the appearance of the gaudy red “Information” booth marring the sight of the Alamo shrine from across the Plaza. As a Certified Professional Tour Guide, we have been told, officially, we can no longer gather tour groups (typically about 15-20 guests) IN the Plaza in front of the Shrine. It is evident that, like the GLO & the Republican “leadership” of Texas, MONEY is the #1 factor in the “reimagining” plan. We are bracing ourselves for the controlled access ‘the plan’ seems to be determined to put in place to accommodate an entry fee to visit the state-owned piece of the World Heritage sites while the other Missions under the National Park system (and the Catholic Church) remain open to the public without charge. That will be a sad, disgraceful day for Texans.

  3. I hope that someday soon, the biggest clutter of them all, the Cenotaph, is removed from Alamo plaza for all time. It’s out of place there, and ugly too, with many mistakes in the names thereon.

  4. I’ll NEVER forgive or understand why ALAMO PLAZA could not accommodate the Battle of Flowers Parade for one day per year. Put up blasters (to prevent traffic for the remaining 364 days) and construct a reusable steel ramp to the new 18″ lower grade for the floats to safely descend. I could have sworn the >100 year old parade was held to honor the heroes of the Alamo!

    The deeding of this precious jewel to the officials at the GLO and others who don’t or won’t listen to San Antonians was disgraceful and unwarranted. The decision can easily be revisited by those who can agree to try to accommodate both sides.


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