A key location of the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, where it is believed that David Crockett fought, has been re-created in Alamo Plaza.

The Palisade Exhibit, a large cedar fortification that surrounds a four-pounder bronze cannon replica, was unveiled Friday evening with pomp, circumstance, and musket firing.

While no photos exist from the time of the battle, researchers were able to piece together what the palisade may have looked like from archival maps and archeological reports, Kristi Nichols, the Alamo’s director of archaeology, collections and historical research, told the San Antonio Report. “The archaeological reports have uncovered a trench in that area [and] within the trench there were artifacts that dated to the battle period.”

Kathy and Ed Dickens pose for a photo next to the newly unveiled Palisade Exhibit at the Alamo on Friday.
Kathy and Ed Dickens pose for a photo next to the newly unveiled Palisade Exhibit at the Alamo on Friday. Credit: Nick Wagner / San Antonio Report

The palisade is not a replica of the fortification, Nichols emphasized. “It’s just an interpretation to give people the idea of where this was, an idea of the size … and the cannon is there to show how the fortress would have been fortified in arms to help during the Battle of the Alamo.”

Most of the Alamo was surrounded by stone walls at the time of the battle, but research shows that the palisade stretched from the southwest corner of the Alamo mission to the walls of the low barrack, which were leveled in 1871.

“Standing here, you gain a new perspective of the overwhelming and terrible odds that those 180 defenders faced,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg told the crowd gathered for the ceremony. “But in this spot, a vulnerable spot, a wall like this was all that stood between them and the Mexican army.”

The palisade joins the Alamo’s 18-Pounder Losoya House as the second re-created portion of the fort during the battle.

The palisade’s cannon, while a replica based off of a scan of a cannon that was at the Alamo, is actually functional “if we ever want it to be,” Nichols said. “As of now, it doesn’t look like we’ll be doing that anytime soon … not today.”

Both plaza exhibits are free and open during normal Alamo operating hours.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick reiterated his pledge to funnel millions in state funds to support the Alamo Master Plan, which is a result of a partnership among the City of San Antonio, Texas General Land Office, and the Alamo Trust, the site’s nonprofit steward. The plan has been on the drawing board since 2014. The latest version and lease agreement were approved by City Council in April.

“We’re just all Texans when it comes to the Alamo,” Patrick said of the bipartisan effort to preserve the Alamo and redevelop the plaza. “The world knows about the Alamo because it is the symbol of freedom and independence — of people willing to fight for that freedom. And it reverberates around the world.”

An additional $174 million is needed to fully fund the estimated $388 million project. The state has already committed $150 million toward the total cost. The Alamo Trust will also continue to fundraise.

The $15 million Alamo exhibition hall and collections building, the first piece of the Alamo overhaul, broke ground in August and is slated for completion late next year.

In addition to building the exhibition hall, officials plan to retrofit three historic buildings across Alamo Plaza into a visitor center and museum, convert Alamo Hall into an education center and the gift shop into an event center, and make improvements to the plaza. North Alamo Street will be closed from East Houston Street to East Crockett Street and close again from Crockett to Commerce Street to create a promenade entry point to the plaza.

After the San Antonio River Walk, which attracts more than 14 million people per year, the Alamo is the second most-visited attraction in Texas, hosting more than 2.5 million.

“I believe [the Alamo could be] the number one historical tourist attraction in America and one of [the top attractions] in the world when this is complete,” Patrick said.

Correction: This article has been updated to correctly reflect when the low barracks were leveled: 1871.

Iris Dimmick

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and workforce development. Contact her at iris@sareport.org