Tag Archives: Alamo

George P. Bush – Getting Heat from the Right and Left Side

Texas Land Commissioner and Bush family scion, George P. Bush is taking heat from both sides of the political aisle.  He is, of course, unloved to say the least by any Democrats who still wonder exactly how Uncle George completely flipped the political omelet in Texas with his election as Governor back in 1994 and have never recovered.  But now George P. is taking heat from the ultra-right not only for doing a terrible job as Land Commissioner but for a number of alleged ethical failings.

For an example of just how much he is loathed by the far right, take a gander at the Texian Partisan.   TP has chronicled George P.’s troubles with the Alamo restoration leading up to his planned resignation from the Alamo Trust under a cloud of suspicion, his secretive West Austin mansion held under a trust which GPB failed to disclose in his Texas Ethics Commission filings, and his false claim to be a “retired naval officer.”  Interesting reading.

In the interest of full disclosure, Red has endorsed Jerry Patterson in the upcoming GOP primary.

Today in Texas History – October 27

From the Annals of the Founders –  In 1806, Juan Seguín was born in San Antonio.  Seguin was an early opponent of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and participated in the Battle of Bexar which drove Mexican forces out of San Antonio in 1835.  He was commissioned as a Captain in the regular Texas army and joined William B. Travis at the Alamo.   He escaped death in the final battle only because Travis sent him through the Mexican lines to carry his famous “never surrender or retreat” letter.  JS got the letter through and returned with men to reinforce the crumbling mission only to find that it had already fallen.  He continued to serve and after the revolution became the only Hispanic Texan in the Senate of the Texas Republic and later served as mayor of San Antonio.

Remember the Alamo

The shameful state of the area surrounding  what is left of the historic Texas shrine has long bothered Red.  Red has always found it unsettling to walk out of the most famous place in all of Texas, gaze across the street and see the Ripley’s Odditorium and a Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum with a life-size scowling Tom Landry looking back at him.  That may be changing soon, as at long last, a plan to create a more appropriate historic district around the Alamo is in the works.  The designation of the Alamo by UNESCO as a World Heritage site has helped.  Despite deranged Tea Party beliefs that this was the first step towards the UN taking over Texas or some other such nonsense, the designation seems to have finally prompted the State and the City of San Antonio to do more to preserve and protect the hallowed grounds of the mission turned fort.  The Texas Tribune has more.

Surrounded by figures clad in period costumes, including a Davy Crockett look-alike, Texas and San Antonio officials gathered in front of the Alamo on Thursday to formalize a long-awaited agreement to preserve the historic mission and spruce up its appeal to visitors.

Representatives from the Texas General Land Office, the city of San Antonio and the Alamo Endowment Board put pen to paper, signing an agreement to develop a master plan for the Alamo Historic District and Complex. Although similar past efforts have failed, state officials are optimistic that this time the plan will stick.

Notions of drafting a master plan to revamp the Alamo are not new, as Dinnin said the presentation of the Alamo and the surrounding area have long underwhelmed visitors. Previous efforts to revamp the monument and prevent growing downtown San Antonio from completely swallowing it failed to take hold, or stalled due to a lack of funding. 

Dinnin said she is optimistic this plan won’t run into similar roadblocks. While discussions about forming an agreement were in the words before the UNESCO designation, Dinnin said it demonstrated the need for serious work to be done at the historic missions. 

“It’s really obvious physically when you’re here,” she said. “The city has grown up around the Alamo and it’s hard to find…you have to look at little bit harder than we should have to look. It’s right in the middle of the heart of downtown San Antonio and, in one way, that means it has served its purpose – it was put here to establish a city. But at the same time, it’s hard to find and a lot of the pieces and the important history is lost unless you already know what happened here.”

Gene Powell – who serves on the Alamo Endowment Board alongside prominent philanthropists including Red McCombs and Ramona Bass – said he hopes to see the Alamo gain the same notoriety as places like Gettysburg, Pennsylvania or Jamestown, Virginia. Most visitors now, he said, only spend an average of eight minutes at the mission.

“There’s just not that much left of it,” he said.

Hotels, shops and roadways have crept closer over the years, encroaching onto land once part of the original mission property. Last week, the land office announced plans to buy three buildings neighboring the Alamo, but Dinnin said the buildings’ fate will be determined by the master plan. 

Today in Texas History – August 17

From the Annals of Bad Luck –   David Crockett was born in what is now Greene County, Tennessee (technically a part of N. Carolina at the time of his birth).  Crockett’s family traversed Tennessee in a series of failed attempts to establish businesses.  Crockett himself was first employed as a drover in a cattle drive from Tennessee to Virginia and was also indentured at various times to pay off his father’s debts.  Crockett’s political career began with his appointment as a justice of the peace in 1817.  From there he sought and won office to the Tennessee state assembly in 1821 and served several terms representing different districts.  He lost in his first run for Congress in 1825, but after being encouraged to try again, he won election in 1827.  Crockett was a consistent champion for the rights of poor settlers whose property rights were endangered by a complicated system of land grants. He introduced a bill to abolish West Point which he viewed as providing free education for sons of the wealthy.   He served two terms before being voted out for his opposition to the Indian Removal Act.  He was returned to Congress 2 years later and served 2 more terms before being defeated in 1835.  Crockett arguably was the best known American of his day – especially after publishing his autobiography.

His decision to go to Texas was likely motivated by a desire to continue his political career.  Crockett was 49 and his military service had been largely limited to work as a scout and hunter finding food for the troops.  Some have speculated that he believed his fame would translate into the presidency of a newly formed Texas nation.   The details of his death at the Alamo have been hotly debated.  More on that on another Today in Texas History.