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Old Posted Feb 25, 2018, 12:17 AM
Hindentanic Hindentanic is offline
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Historically, this was the site of the former Veramendi Palace, the surviving wooden doors of which are preserved and on display inside the Alamo shrine. The leading Veramendi family and their prominent house had deep connections to the early settlement of San Antonio and the family tragedy of Alamo defender Jim Bowie, who courted here and married Ursula Veramendi. Alamo defender Ben Milam was killed outside the doors of the palace and first buried within its courtyard.


(Photo from The Rivard Report by Paul Bubel on Flickr)

We have enough photographs, drawings, descriptions, and knowledge of comparable and contemporary architecture to reconstruct a fair approximation of the lost Veramendi Palace. Our primary direct model is the similar and contemporary Spanish Governor's Palace on Military Plaza facing City Hall. Loath as many, including myself, might normally be to historical recreations of long lost buildings, just imagine if we had indeed recreated such a landmark on Soledad Street with a courtyard garden stepping down to the Riverwalk and filled it with collected artifacts and memorabilia from the Alamo era. What is another nondescript hotel or bland office building when we could again have a "Veramendi Palace," a name steeped in our city's core history, modeled like this:


(Photo from Robey Architecture, Inc.)


(Photo from TripAdvisor)

Development in this neglected part of the downtown core is always welcome, and most of use do want big buildings and skyscrapers. However, what of this rather plain Hampton Inn, which could just have easily been Ramada or La Quinta, speaks to San Antonio as a "unique and historical American city" or of this site as a storied place of the Veramendi, Jim Bowie, of Ben Milam? Surely not the post-modern roof tiles, the eventual arches, or a plaque on the sidewalk. The building now under construction is development for development's sake, which is fine too, but I don't go to the nearby Hotel Valencia and think in my tourist suite, "this brand new building has some roof tiles--feel and breathe the history of Mediterranean Italianate San Antonio as a city unique in world!" I'm sure the Hampton Inn will be nice when it is finished and will help to fill out downtown as we look at it from the boat tour, but it doesn't rise to the level of unique history or great architecture. If we want to sell ourselves alongside New Orleans or Savannah, which indeed are San Antonio's historical contemporaries, former colonial rivals, and excellent models to follow as cities famed for their history, perseveration, and atmosphere, then we need to start showcasing our own comparable roots. We couldn't even give this building a deferential throwback name like "Hotel Veramendi."

Last edited by Hindentanic; Feb 25, 2018 at 12:36 AM.
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