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"What color was the Alamo?" Topic

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3,380 hits since 5 Jan 2010
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jpipes Inactive Member05 Jan 2010 10:20 a.m. PST

I'm trying to pin down what the original color of the Alamo would have been at the time of the battle during the Texas Revolution.

Sources seem to indicate the mission church would have been limestone/greyish-white/pale/stone, but I've also seen references to adobe brick for the walls and other buildings of the mission. Any chance that adobe brick could have been a reddish/rose color?

Many Alamo models I've seen show them painted reddish/rose, just wondering how incorrect that might be. To add confusion, I've also read that many missions were painted reds, whites, yellows, rose, etc. Might the Alamo have also been painted at some point?

VonTed05 Jan 2010 10:27 a.m. PST

Dust color I imagine :)

mex10mm05 Jan 2010 10:34 a.m. PST

The Alamo was a ruined mission turned "fort" at the time of the battle. I guess it was much the same color as it is today. (pale gray/white stone)
Adobe wall color depend on the soil the adobes are made of and how old are they (more yellow are older adobes) so I guess the adobes at the time of the battle would have been "more red" that they look today. I guess watching the San Antonio city pictures of the Alamo and some films would yield a lot of information on how it looks today and how some people think it looked during the battle.

aecurtis Fezian Inactive Member05 Jan 2010 10:36 a.m. PST

There was a yellow spot in 1982.

No, it wasn't me, it was Ozzy!


RavenscraftCybernetics05 Jan 2010 10:45 a.m. PST

pristine! white just ask anyone who survived the battle there =P

Terrement Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2010 10:46 a.m. PST

If I tried to tell ya it was originally done in a tartan colour based on the clan of the missionary who founded it, I don't suppose you'd be believing me, would you now? grin

"The Mission San Antonio de Valero, established in San Antonio in 1718, was but one of many Catholic missions organized as part of the official Spanish plan to Christianize native Americans and colonize northern New Spain. Franciscan monks began building on the present site, on east side of the San Antonio River, about 1724 and remained there until 1793, when the Spanish government legally dissolved the mission and distributed ownership of its lands and buildings."

One of those Franciscan monks was none other than Fr. John Ferguson, and the first building of the mission, long before it grew into the complex of buildings we recognize as "The Alamo" today, was a small dwelling for the priests and brothers. It had as their door a tartan rather than the traditional serape hanging a Ferguson
As the building was small, one day as a joke, some of the local boys painted the small building in a rough approximation of the tartan, based on a running joke among them about the way that funny sounding father spoke Spanish.

Exactly what happened give or take a lie or two…


Larry Gettysburg Soldiers Inactive Member05 Jan 2010 11:20 a.m. PST

Here is the best model depiction of it I have seen, taken from the Mark Lemon book.


avidgamer05 Jan 2010 11:42 a.m. PST

It was "Alamo" color. Duh!

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2010 12:01 p.m. PST

According to the Alamo tour guide in "PeeWee's Big Adventure" it was adobe. Can you say "adobe?"

If you need more, I think Osprey has a series of books devoted to the correct color during the siege:

Osprey Fortress Series: The Alamo – Day 1
Osprey Fortress Series: The Alamo – Day 2
Osprey Fortress Series: The Alamo – Day 3

Osprey Fortress Series: The Alamo – Day 13

combatpainter Fezian05 Jan 2010 12:26 p.m. PST

Here is my view on the subject;I live about 140 miles from San Antonio De Bexar and have visited the Alamo countless times. I live in a pretty much untouched area of Southwest Texas where nature is plentiful. I, also, live only 30 miles from John Wayne's Alamo which was built from actually stone dug on site and have been a steady visitor there as well. I have a 500 man 28mm Alamo army and hand made 1/4 ply fort I made by hand to game at cons. I have painted thousands of Alamo Mexicans but not as many Texans.

Stone is dug from the ground so let's start by looking at the ground and going from there. My description is as follows;light stone with a hint of mustard, grey, and light brown. I spend my walks studying the stone and vegetation as I am a student of both nature and history. Once the stone is extracted from the earth and placed upright on a wall like on a building it attracts dust, grime, soot, rain and eventually some light moss from the wind and rain lifting and transferring particles onto the stone. If you were to add a bit of those colors in the way of washes to the stone I don't think you would be far of what the actual color was in 1836.

That is one part of it;now the other part of it is that we are building miniatures and what it actually was and how it will be perceived once you do it in 28mm is another thing. You must then take some artistic license and bring it to life. I will show you a 10mm version of the Alamo I put together by hand with some foam board. I will be back with my version which isn't the ultimate but it is what I see as accurate based on my knowledge and experience. I feel that I am better prepared to produce an actual Alamo than if I lived in Bangladesh, right. In the end, it is the ultimate product of your research that makes your model exciting to those in our hobby. It is somewhat of an idealistic proposition a bit of a quest for truth and immortality that motivates us in this hobby.

Mind you the images are based on my sons 2nd grade Alamo project which was not required. i threw this together from the remnant excess material left over from my daughters model which the school kept and showcased. I guided my son through most of the steps and colors for the production so I can't take full credit. Lol…


jpipes Inactive Member05 Jan 2010 12:29 p.m. PST

How about the walls and additional buildings around the Alamo, I have read the were made with a reddish adobe brick?

Pijlie Inactive Member05 Jan 2010 12:43 p.m. PST


darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2010 3:05 p.m. PST

Pijlie wins. :)

War Minister Crittumbo Inactive Member05 Jan 2010 3:08 p.m. PST

LOL!Written as ASIMOV!!!!!!

Jeffersonian Inactive Member05 Jan 2010 3:14 p.m. PST

As a native San Antonian I doubt that adobe brick used in the Alamo was "reddish." The local soil is more of a greyish-yellowish-brown, although it varies from place to place. Definitely not reddish however.

SECURITY MINISTER CRITTER Inactive Member05 Jan 2010 3:46 p.m. PST

Last time I was there, (last years' King William/Battle of the Flowers events) it was still whitish gray. Though at the time I was seeing two of them…..

combatpainter Fezian05 Jan 2010 4:53 p.m. PST

Also, keep in mind that depending on the sun the building will look differently at different times of the day so their is no definitive color unless you study it in a lab.

combatpainter Fezian05 Jan 2010 5:07 p.m. PST

Also, keep in mind that depending on the sun the building will look differently at different times of the day so their is no definitive color unless you study it in a lab in a controlled environment but like was repeated above. It's a combination of light gray and washes of orange- yellow-brown, very beautiful to me.

jdpintex05 Jan 2010 6:22 p.m. PST

Ya'll need to get over the "red" adobe color.

The nearest source of red clay is at least a 100 miles east of San Antonio. Central Texas is all limestone and caliche, so as Combatpainter stated, everything would have been and generally still is light grey, whitish, or at most a brownish yellow.

The Alamo (existing chapel and barracks at least) is mostly limestone rock with a slurry cover which was then most likely white-washed and then promptly weathered.

GypsyComet05 Jan 2010 7:02 p.m. PST

It happened before color film, so it was obviously in black & white, just like WWII.

jpipes Inactive Member05 Jan 2010 7:17 p.m. PST

Very helpful folks, except for the snarky comments, those I can do without…

I had assumed limestone was more likely the correct color and will be adjusting the setup accordingly. It looks beautiful as it is now but it's just not as historical as I'd like it to be.

combatpainter Fezian05 Jan 2010 8:12 p.m. PST

Very helpful folks, except for the snarky comments, those I can do without…

The sci-fi crowd I guess. Lol…

Jeffersonian Inactive Member05 Jan 2010 8:55 p.m. PST

As jdpintex pointed out, the limestone buildings were initially covered with a white-washed plaster. The outer buildings of adobe were probably also white-washed. The church was probably decorated with painted designs. The nearby mission of La Conception still retains its original plaster and a good deal of its red and blue painted decoration. Mission San Jose, a few miles farther down the river is also known to have been plastered and painted. Since the Alamo church had been abandoned for some time before the battle and had suffered the disasterous collapse of its dome and much of its roof during Spanish times, it's hard to say what its exterior looked like in 1836.

Jay Arnold Inactive Member05 Jan 2010 10:35 p.m. PST

According to Bob Wills, any diorama or setup of the Alamo should include a pinto pony and a Navajo. Situate the across the alley for proper effect.

jpipes Inactive Member05 Jan 2010 11:14 p.m. PST

So would the adobe outbuildings likely have been significantly different color from the limestone of the mission itself?

Pijlie Inactive Member06 Jan 2010 11:00 a.m. PST

Very helpful folks, except for the snarky comments, those I can do without…

The sci-fi crowd I guess. Lol…

Eeeww. Im a hardcore (pseudo-)historical gamer. Am I not supposed to have a sense of humour? Tsss

Jeffersonian Inactive Member06 Jan 2010 1:18 p.m. PST

jpipes, my guess would be that limestone and adobe walls that had been plastered and whitewashed would be a dingy off-white. Unplastered adobe bricks would be a dirty greyish khaki color. Unplastered limestone would be a pale greyish buff color. I think the differences in colors would be quite subtle.

SECURITY MINISTER CRITTER Inactive Member06 Jan 2010 5:59 p.m. PST

Thank God the hadn't quarried the pink granite for it. Think of all the horrible jokes. :-o

Personal logo mmitchell Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Jan 2010 3:19 a.m. PST

Based on my research, it was an off gray/white with hints of brown and yellow -- pretty much what was said above. grin

Personal logo Gert Frobe Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2010 5:34 a.m. PST

I researched just this question for a year, back when I had a massive Alamo project years ago(was even paid to go there three times).

Originally, it was pretty pristine whitewash, when young. It fell into severe disrepair, and repair, of course.

Some of the newer structures, like the Gatehouse, where of a light brown/tanish white, the chapel much like it's current phase (give or take almost two hundred more years of wear)and the perimeter buildings, long barracks, etc. where of a dirty light yellow/off white.

I even had experts study Daguerrotypes of the structures who claimed they could arrive at this conclusion from studying black and white period photos.

Anything but a reddish color, as has been mentioned here.

Don't forget that muh of the walls and such were repaired/rebuilt times over.

And yes, the "Wayne amo" is a pretty good indication of it's colors (when I visited in the early 90's.

jdpintex07 Jan 2010 5:46 a.m. PST


That's a long haul to bring pink granite to San Antonio. The indians would've had a good time picking off everyone involved.

But it would've been "rite purty"!

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