Excavations at the Alamo Shrine [page 14]

across where there were to be side altars, and a sanctuary and apse where the main altar was to be placed. The church floor was probably paved with flagstones. The church was to have a domed (barrel vault) roof supported by stone arches. Over the transept was to be built a large cupola supported by four arches, and above the front entrance was to be a choir loft. The stone arches rise from pilasters which are simple in design, with multielement basal and spring molding. Although nearly all of the arches were installed, there is no clear record that the roof, cupola, or choir was actually completed before work on the building ceased (Leutenegger, 1977).

The sacristy, where the priests prepared for services and stored ceremonial objects, was located on the north side of the church nave adjacent to the transept. Originally, the sacristy was about three meters longer in the north-south axis than it is presently (Fig. 3). The long room was divided by an arch, and each section was roofed with a rib vault. The room has three doorways: one entering the transept, another to the adjacent room, and a third opening to the convento patio (Well Court). There were also two glass windows with iron gratings (Leutenegger, 1977).

The large room adjacent to the sacristy, currently called the Monks Burial Ground, was possibly planned originally to be the rectory, but it appears to have had various other functions in the past. While the church was under construction, the large sacristy was used for the church services, and the room adjacent (rectory) served as the temporary sacristy. There is no clear indication in the records that the church proper, which was never completed, was ever used for regular services. The large room designated to be the sacristy probably continued to be the focus of church services until final abandonment.

Flanking the church entrance are two small rooms which were the bases of two towers planned but probably not completed. The north room was possibly the confessional, while the one on the south side was the baptistry. Each has a splayed doorway and window. The planned towers were to support four bells (Habig, 1977). It is probable that a small upper window was to be placed in each tower.

The foundation upon which the church rests consists of a thick wall, built of large irregular stones and lime mortar, set in a footing trench. A description of the foundation is given in the section of this report dealing with the excavations.

The walls of the church building are very sturdy and are more than 1.25 varas (3.5 ft.) in thickness. They are constructed of rough masonry, consisting principally of irregular-shaped stones set in generally uneven coursing and laid with sand-lime mortar. The facings of the stones, both inside and outside of the building, have been dressed to provide flat surfaces, and chisel marks are plainly visible. Remains of lime plaster can also be seen. The corners of the building are ashlar and plumed. In contrast to the rough construction of the building walls, the center facade is constructed of carefully cut and dressed ashlar nicely fitted to form a beautiful composite. The limestone blocks used in the construction are said to have been mined locally (ibid.).

The building, except for the front facade, is plain in design and has been described by the friars as Tuscan workmanship (Leutenegger ,1977). There is a simple three-element molding about 1.1 meter above the present ground surface, extending along the front of the buildings and around the base of the south bell tower. Apparently the rest of the building was without molding.

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