A Photographic Guide to the Many Faces of Alamo Plaza
In 1871, the city finished tearing down the Galera, an old barrack, gate and jail that made up part of the southern mission wall. It was roughly centered in the plaza between the Alamo church and what became Crockett Street. Demolition on the structure had begun in 1866, was halted by the Catholic Church, and urged again by the Daily Express in 1869 (Nelson, 80). The removal of the Galera allowed the joining of Alamo Plaza to Plaza de Valero, which consisted of open land south of the gate, most notably fronted by the Menger Hotel on the east (Nelson, 80).

The city also built a market house in the middle of the former Plaza de Valero in 1871 to serve the residents and military personnel living around the Alamo. Wholesale grocer Honore Grenet constructed his distinctive two–story, castle–like facade over the walls of the Alamo's convento a few years later in 1877 (National Register).

Charles Hugo and Gustav Schmeltzer, also wholesale grocers, purchased Grenet's store in 1886 (Nelson, 83). The new owners made few changes to the building, but removed the fanciful towers and fake battlements.

About this Image:
1.) Looking northeast from the center of Alamo Plaza, c. 1882. The castle–like facade of the Grenet store covers the former convento, or long barracks, adjacent to the Alamo. Streetcar tracks end just to the left of the old meat market in the foreground. The Galera would have been located between the Alamo church and the market house.

2.) A view of Alamo Plaza looking northeast towards the Alamo and the Hugo–Schmeltzer Building. Notice that the warehouse still retains the crenellation and castle–like façade added by Grenet. The edge of the courthouse and post office is visible on the left. Several people mingle in the park, while a streetcar passes.

To Learn More:
Courtesy of the San Antonio Conservation Society Foundation, Raba Collection.
Click to Enlarge
c. 1882c. 1882
2.) July 4, 18982.) July 4, 1898
Site Map - Convento called Grenet or Hugo-Schmeltzer in RecordSite Map - Convento called Grenet or Hugo-Schmeltzer in Record