Return to Home Page

Gone But Not Forgotten

Go Back

Return to Tours Home

Go Ahead

Fair Park's Alamo Replica

Alamo Replica

Immediately adjacent to the Automobile Building (just to the north of the France statue), once stood a structure that Fair Park is the poorer for losing. It was a scale replica of the Alamo, presented to the park in 1909 by George B. Dealey, vice-president and manager of The Dallas Morning News. According to his biographer, Ernest Sharpe, the idea for the replica came to Dealey while attending the 1908 state fair with the News' other vice-president, Cesar Lombardi. Dealey sent an architect to San Antonio to measure the actual Alamo and had him draw up plans for the replica which was to be half the size. The estimated cost of this project was $5,000.

In a letter to the Dallas Park Board, in which he sought permission to place the replica in Fair Park, Dealey wrote:

"The great mass of people of North Texas never have the opportunity to see the Alamo...But they can see and study this exact replica of the original, and thus will be created or augmented in the minds of the younger generation a patriotic feeling and pride for the noble band which fought for the freedom we now enjoy."

At 11:15 in the morning of October 16, 1909, the Opening Day of that year's state fair, Dealey presented the replica to Dallas Mayor Hay, who accepted it on behalf of the City of Dallas, at a ceremony attended by some five-hundred people. That same day The News printed a special "Alamo Edition" in honor of the event and Dealey, in making the presentation, addressed the assembled crowd. In his speech he recalled the bravery of the Alamo defenders, some of whom came from Dealey's native England. He then quoted from Alvin E. Farr's poem, "The Alamo":

Our heroes only caught a glimpse
Of glories yet to be;
The sun that sank in death to them
Was dawn of liberty!
And rarest flowers of love and peace
Their fragrant beauties shed,
And Texas owes her happy homes
To her devoted dead.

The replica, complete even down to its weatherstains, had a gold-lettered cornerstone at its northwest corner. It quickly became a popular attraction at the park. A few days after it was dedicated, it was visited by Comanche Chief Quanah Parker who said:

"White men talk a great deal about their history. They don't all play brave in making it. They don't all care as much for getting it right as for getting it like they want it. (But) Alamo fight was brave like Indians fight, don't care for safety and for life...This Alamo house brings back to me thought of the 'Dobe Walls fight a long time ago. It must make Texas people good to look at this and think of what it stands for. It was a fine thing for The News to put it here."

The replica stood on this site until 1935 or 1936 when construction of the Esplanade began. At that time, it was demolished. At about the same time, a second Alamo replica was constructed in the far southwest corner of the park, behind the present-day Garden Center. It was a popular spot with visitors to the Texas Centennial Exposition and to Fair Park for years afterward. By the 1950s, however, this second replica was suffering from neglect and had to be locked up as unsafe to enter. Apparently no attempt was made to restore it and so it was eventually torn down.

This website copyright © 2002-2012 (except where noted) by Steven Butler, Ph.D. All rights reserved.