Our partners at WMF had this to say about the decision to reuse the Woolworth Building as part of the new Alamo Museum:
“Great news from San Antonio! World Monuments Fund (WMF) joins the Conservation Society of San Antonio in celebrating the decision to save the San Antonio Woolworth Building and rehabilitate it as part of the future home of the Alamo Museum.
In March 1960, Woolworth’s in San Antonio, Texas made history by peacefully desegregating their lunch counter without resistance. WMF included the site on the 2020 #WorldMonumentsWatch to preserve this legacy. Now we look forward to the opening of the new Alamo Museum as a milestone in enabling audiences to engage with this history and reflect on its relevance today, thanks to the tireless efforts of partners to secure the future of the site.”
Read WMF’s complete statement on their Woolworth blog page.
We now have official confirmation that the State of Texas is committed to repurposing the Woolworth Building (and the Crockett Block) as a part of the new Alamo Museum. Today, the Bexar County Commissioners Court backed up their commitment to the museum with a $25M allocation, while the State promised an additional $50M. Read more.
Watch the recorded presentation “Places of Color: Preserving San Antonio’s Underrepresented Narratives.” We focused on Alazán Courts, the 1875 foundation of the St. James AME Church, and the Woolworth Building, a World Monuments Fund 2020 Watch Site. These endangered historic sites physically connect us to overlooked stories in our shared heritage, speaking to the struggle for equity and justice.
Prominently located on Alamo Plaza across from the Alamo, the Woolworth Building stands as a visible link to an important Civil Rights achievement. In 1960, it helped San Antonio become the site of the first peaceful, voluntary lunch counter integration of the national sit-in movement.
Since the 2016 rediscovery of the building’s historic significance, advocates have been trying to persuade the State of Texas to reuse the building (or at least its facades) as part of the new Alamo museum planned for this site. After the 2018 Alamo Interpretive Plan cast doubt on the building’s fate, the Conservation Society joined with allies in the African American and Hispanic communities to form the Coalition for the Woolworth Building.
In 2019, the Conservation Society released a Coalition-backed compromise proposal. It illustrated how multiple layers of the plaza’s 300-year-old history could be interpreted while retaining the Woolworth Building’s walls. The Society of Architectural Historians sent a letter to Governor Greg Abbott supporting this solution. In October, an international panel elevated the Woolworth Building to the world stage by including it on the World Monuments Fund’s 2020 Watch List.
Benedicte de Montlaur interview courtesy of David Arias-Rios, Jan. 31, 2020.
“World Monuments advocate touts keeping Woolworth site” – San Antonio Express-News, Jan 31.
The 2020 World Monuments Watch helps communities protect their irreplaceable sites for future generations. The Woolworth Building is one of 25 international sites (and just one of three in the U.S.) on the 2020 Watch list.
Our state and local leaders listened to ongoing public support to reuse the Woolworth Building and tell its Civil Rights story as part of the new Alamo museum.
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick
Phone: (512) 463-5342 (Message Line)
George P. Bush, Commissioner, Texas General Land Office
Phone: 1-800-998-4GLO (4456)
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff
Phone: (210) 335-3019
Bexar County Commissioners: Rebeca Clay-Flores, Justin Rodriguez, Trish DeBerry, Tommy Calvert
Phone: (210) 335-2011
Mayor Ron Nirenberg (City of San Antonio)
Phone: (210) 207-7107
Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran (City of San Antonio, Council District 3 and Alamo Management Committee Chair)
Phone: (210) 207-7064
The Coalition for the Woolworth Building is a grass-roots advocacy group. We support the preservation of the Woolworth Building and want to build on its presence in Alamo Plaza to share an integrated history that includes African Americans. Members include: San Antonio Branch NAACP; San Antonio African American Community Archives and Museum; San Antonio for Growth on the East Side; Esperanza Peace and Justice Center; Westside Preservation Alliance; Mexican American Civil Rights Institute; concerned historians, civic leaders, and community members; and The Conservation Society of San Antonio.