Saturday, September 5, 2015

Alamo Stadium part 1

May 2013
Alamo Stadium is a well known school sports venue in San Antonio, Texas.  Many local people have fond memories of playing football or participating in high school sports activities here.  When it underwent a $35 million dollar renovation thousands of people crowded into the stadium to participate in its rededication ceremony in August 2014.
April 2013 during renovation
The stadium was built in an abandoned rock quarry to the west of Brackenridge Park and the Sunken Garden Theater.  Present day U.S. Highway 281 runs to the east of the stadium property.  As early as 1921 the concept of a municipal sports facility for the city of San Antonio had been discussed and the old rock quarry was the first proposed site.  In the ensuing years many proposals for funding and different locations would be introduced, but each in turn would fail.  Finally in July 1938 an application was submitted to the Works Progress Administration asking for funding $202,000 of the estimated $347,980 cost to build a stadium in the rock quarry.  The local funding would come through the issuance of revenue bonds by San Antonio ISD.

There would be obstacles to this to proposal including getting approval from the legislature to issue the bonds and satisfying a neighborhood group that the stadium had plenty of parking and convenient access that would not disturb their neighborhood.  In April and May of 1939 both issues were resolved and groundbreaking took place in August. Construction would take just a little over a year and was completed with little drama compared to the previous years!

Per the nomination to the National Register of Historic Places: Work began immediately to prepare the site for construction of the 22,700 seat stadium. The final estimated cost had risen to $477,000, and WPA had increased its grant from $202,000 to $370,000. Designed by the architectural firm of Phelps, Dewees and Simmons in collaboration with W.P. Simpson and Company, consulting engineers, the stadium was a product of its natural limestone setting. Built directly into the old quarry, the structure was finished in limestone and surround by a perimeter limestone wall. Tiered seating varied in height depending on the contours of the site. A forty-foot limestone bluff on the west face of the old quarry formed the base of the main seating area where bleachers were forty-one tiers high. On the east there were twenty-two tiers and on the south, sixteen tiers. Visitors entering through the main, west entrance therefore descended to their seats, while those coming in on the east side entered at playing field level and climbed to their seats.

The stadium's elevation gives visitors a stunning view of the San Antonio skyline.(To be continued)

1 comment:

  1. Is that an original mural at the entrance? I am impatient, I know. :)