The Alamo Complex is composed of historic buildings dating to the mission period (Church and Long Barrack) as well as historic buildings and resources from the twentieth century (Gift Museum, Alamo Hall, Alamo Research Center, Arbor), and modern resources to support visitors and staff.
Each of these built resources, as well as the grounds themselves, are undergoing much-need improvements.
Ongoing research and assessment projects:
Current research projects aim to investigate known physical deficiencies and aid in planning for the future of the Alamo.
- Church & Long Barrack Historic Structure Reports
A team of historical architects, engineers, conservator, historian, archeologist, photographer and others are at work on two Historic Structure Reports, one each for the Church and Long Barrack, that will collect the history of each building, including construction, alterations, and preservation efforts as well as assess their current condition, and make treatment recommendations. These documents will guide future preservation efforts on the Church and Long Barrack.
- Church & Long Barrack HABS Documentation
Historic American Building Survey (HABS) documentation of the Church and Long Barrack, including drawings and photography, is expected to be completed late spring/early summer 2016.
- Gallagher Rising Damp Investigation
An assessment of the Gallagher Building, and its rising damp problem in particular, is underway by a historical architect and engineer. The Gallagher Building is located on E. Houston Street and is used for staff offices.
- Complex-Wide Mechanical Electrical Plumbing (MEP) Improvements
Engineers and historical architects are conducting a complex-wide mechanical and electrical assessment that will lead to substantial improvements for code compliance and efficiency in the near future.
- Complex-Wide ADA Assessment
An accessibility specialist is conducting an assessment of the public areas of the Alamo Complex for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Texas Accessibility Standards.
- Site History
A history and significance assessment of the grounds and landscape features is in the works, and is related to the Site Work project listed below.
Ongoing physical improvement projects:
Current physical improvement projects aim to address deficiencies that pose a threat to public safety, do not comply with current codes, constitute an error, have an exceedingly poor appearance, or would cause substantial harm to the resource if not remedied within two years. Most physical improvement projects are designed by historical architects and engineers, and many of the projects listed below are currently in the design phase prior to physical construction. Physical improvement projects are generally scheduled to minimize visitor impact.
- Site Work
Engineers and landscape architects are assessing the topography and landscape of the Alamo Complex for drainage improvements, trip hazard abatement, and installation of new site furniture including benches and trash cans.
- Demolition of Non-Historic Site Components
Historical architects are preparing construction documents to demolish a non-historic, deteriorated greenhouse in the employee section of the Alamo Complex, remove a non-historic audio tour storage shed at the Arcade, and inappropriate ballpark-style lights near the front of the Church. A new metal storage building will be constructed in place of the greenhouse.
- Long Barrack North Door Replacement
The north door on the Long Barrack, which functions as the primary exit from the museum exhibit, does not close properly and is beyond repair. This door is being replaced with a door that generally matches its existing appearance with minor functional improvements. The non-historic metal security bars on the outside of the door will be removed as part of the project.
- Long Barrack HVAC Improvements
The theater HVAC is being replaced with a new, efficient unit, and a large condenser unit that serves the remainder of the building will be relocated slightly so as to better protect the Long Barrack and its historic walls.
- Gift Museum Moisture Remediation
Plans are underway to prevent moisture from re-entering the basement of the Gift Museum, which will include removal of vegetation adjacent to the building, improvement of the ground surface for drainage, and reconnection of a French drain.
- Gift Museum Life Safety Improvements
Construction is underway on life safety improvements related to egress as required by the State Fire Marshal. Improvements include replacing some of the historic doors with fire-rated doors to match their existing appearance, removal of an internal dumbwaiter, and removal of an interior window between an office and a stairwell.
- Alamo Research Center/Library Porch Roof Repair
The concrete porch roof deck and rafters are damaged and will be replaced. The clay tiles will be salvaged and re-used to the degree possible, and the final appearance will match the existing design, although with proper internal rebar construction.
- Alamo Research Center/Library Rehabilitation
This scope includes re-roofing and guttering the Alamo Research Center/Library and insertion of an ADA restroom in Alamo Hall, in addition to replacing the reading room carpet, patching the reading room ceiling, and abating hazardous materials beneath the reading room carpet.
- Arcade Vigas
The cedar horizontal vigas, which are deteriorated and unstable, will be replaced with new cedar logs. The area around each viga will be repointed with appropriate mortar.
- Public Restroom Renovation
The public restrooms, which are out-dated and do not meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), will be renovated to include all new finishes and fixtures and fully comply with the ADA.
- IT Fiber Optic Installation
Fiber Optic cable is being installed throughout the Alamo Complex for initial use by Alamo staff and potential future use by the general public.
Recently Completed physical improvement Projects:
- Church Facade Stabilization
In October 2015, a mason and conservator completed initial stabilization of the Church façade. They secured fragile stones, repointed open and failed mortar joints, stabilized lime renders, reattached a piece of the cornice that was removed in 2012, and secured the cornice stone on a new base. Mortar and stone, removed as part of the stabilization project, is being tested with results expected early summer 2016.
- Tree Maintenance
Trees and palms throughout the Alamo Complex were trimmed in late summer/early fall 2015 in order to better protect adjacent historic structures and the trees themselves. Tree branches that rested on buildings or site walls were removed as was an invasive species.
- Long Barrack Southwest Corner Repair
A mason installed small diameter stainless steel rods and fluid grout into the southwest corner of the Long Barrack to stabilize the wall in accordance with a study prepared by a structural engineer. The work was completed in August 2015.
- Alamo Hall Patio Roof
Alamo Hall’s cedar post and shingle porch roof was beyond repair and was replaced in August 2015 to match its existing appearance.
- Alamo Hall Life Safety Improvements
The swing of both sets of historic double doors on Alamo Hall were reversed to allow for proper egress in August 2015.
- Long Barrack Re-Roofing Project
The Long Barrack roof was replaced in late summer/early fall of 2014. Ceiling beams with high moisture content were replaced with new matching beams, as was the adjacent tongue-and-groove decking. Mechanical ductwork, only accessible through the roof, was replaced prior to the new roof being installed. The canales, or drainage scuppers, were removed and replaced with new logs having a larger capacity to drain water. Also part of the project, the north, south, and west exterior walls were cleaned by a skilled mason using materials and processes sensitive to the historic limestone and mortar.
- Window & Door Restoration
The windows and exterior doors of the Gift Museum, Alamo Hall, and Alamo Research Center/Library were restored or replaced in the summer of 2014. The windows and doors, which previously suffered from deferred maintenance, are all now freshly repaired, painted and weather-stripped. Analysis of the original paint colors was conducted, and the original colors were painted on the interior and exterior of the Gift Museum and Alamo Research Center/Library, and the original color was painted on the Alamo Hall exterior.
- Arbor Roof Extension
The non-historic Arbor near the restrooms was extended in order to provide additional shelter to the public in winter 2013-2014. New electrical service was run to the Arbor and new outlets, lights, and fans were installed. Ground disturbance was monitored by a professional archeologist.
- Gift Museum Renovation
The Gift Museum interior was renovated in January 2013 with painting, new display shelving and cabinets, improvements to the electrical system, and installation of LED lighting. A fudge merchandise counter was installed in the back corner of the sales floor.
Recently Completed research studies:
- Architectural Investigation of the Southwest Corner of the Long Barrack
A structural engineer studied the presence of cracks through the stone and mortar joints on the southwest corner of the building, and issued a report in November 2013. The report recommended stitching the corner with small diameter stainless steel rods and compatible fluid grout, which was completed in August 2015.
- Conditions Assessment of the Church & Long Barrack
A stone mason and conservation issued a condition assessment report on the Church façade in September 2013. The report found that the primary cause of stone deterioration on the Church is water infiltration and retention. This study led to the Church Façade Stabilization project completed in October 2015.
- Preservation Mapping and Planning Through Technology
Laser scanning and modeling of the Church and Long Barrack was completed and formed the basis for an erosion study of the Church façade that was completed in 2015.
- Church HVAC Assessment
Historical architects and engineers evaluated the mechanical system in the Church in 2014, and made recommendations that are being studied further as part of the ongoing Historic Structure Report.
- Infared Thermography Survey of the Church & Long Barrack
A structural engineer used infared thermography including time-lapsed images to study moisture and structural issues, discover hidden features, and make recommendations for future work in a June 2013 report. The report found that moisture penetration was problematic, including that caused by rising damp.
- Multi-Spectral Imagery
An art conservator studied the Church Sacristy with multi-spectral imagery and discovered an urn design with a large plant spray located on both sides of the center ovals on the east and south walls. This design is above the frieze band and has flattened curves and geometric elements. Also discovered was greater detail in the yellow ochre circular frames located on the upper south and east walls.
- Paint and Color Analysis
A chemist studied pigments in the Church that are either tiny fragments or only visible with an Ultra Violet lamp. Yellow ochre, charcoal, red ochre, vermillion, green earth, copper green, and copper leaf pigments were found, and were mixed with calcium carbonate and milk from either a goat or cow.