Mission Trails Historic Sites

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Alamo Cenotaph

The Alamo Cenotaph is a memorial located near the front of the Alamo (Mission San Antonio de Valero) and stands to commemorate the men and women who chose to defend the Alamo rather than surrender despite overwhelming odds. The Texas Centennial Commission, established to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Texas independence from Mexico in 1836, worked in association with the Works Progress Administration to commission the Alamo Cenotaph in 1936 under the theme the “Spirit of Sacrifice” (Troesser 2011). The cenotaph, or empty tomb, was designed by the San Antonio architecture firm of Adams and Adams, while renowned Italian-born sculptor Pompeo Coppini conceived and executed the sculptural parts of the monument (San Antonio Conservation Society 2011).

Begun in 1937, the cenotaph took two years to complete and was one of the largest works completed by Coppini. The sculpture features a 60-foot-high shaft, sloping capstone, and a base of gray Georgia marble that rest upon a base of pink Texas granite. The sides of the cenotaph feature carvings of Alamo defenders including William B. Travis, Jim Bowie, David Crockett, and James Bonham, and the names of those who died at the Alamo are etched along the base (Troesser 2011 and Cox 2011).


  • Cox, Dale

    2011 - “The Alamo Cenotaph-San Antonio, Texas.” Explore Southern History, http://www.exploresouthernhistory.com/alamocenotaph.html (Accessed March 2013).

  • San Antonio Conservation Society

    2011 - “The Texas Star Trail: A Downtown Walking Tour.” San Antonio Conservation Society. http://www.sanantonio.gov/historic/Docs/TXStarTrail_2011.pdf (Accessed March 2013).

  • Trosser, John

    2011 - “The Spirit of Sacrifice, aka The Alamo Cenotaph,” Texas Escapes Online Magazine, http://www.texasescapes.com/SanAntonioTx/The-Alamo-Cenotaph.htm
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