The Alamo Church Is Getting A High Tech Restoration Job

The historic Alamo mission church, one of the many symbols of our freedom, is slowly crumbling and needs a restoration job to save it from total destruction. The current state of the church is very alarming, according to a Texas A&M University researcher.

The post’s decorative base found next to the church’s main entrance is bare, losing 2.7 inches of its limestone covering since the 60s, said Robert Warden, director of the university’s Center for Heritage Conservation. The steady erosion has transformed what was once rectangular and solid base of each of the four columns into what “now look scooped,” he said

“It’s clear from photos of the building in the 1930s that material loss was already well underway,” he said.

The rate of erosion on one column “adds up to a significant amount, especially if that rate increases in the future,” said Warden, one of at least seven experts scheduled to deliver a speech at the center’s 14th annual Historic Preservation Symposium, “The Alamo: Structure of History,” Feb. 20-21 in College Station.

One of the topics Walden will be discussing  are the  center’s findings on both the church’s interior and exterior parts. He will show both old pictures and the latest photographs taken last year using a cutting-edge digital scanning technology.

During his interview with San Antonio Express-News last year, he said the center will come up with 2 or maybe 3 dimensional pictures of the 250 year old church using photographs from 1836, 1885 and 1961.

Texas A&M University’s Institute of Architectural Engineering Heritage and the Center for Architectural Engagement at the University of Texas at San Antonio have contributed to the restoration efforts which began in the middle of 2013, two years ago.

“You have some advantages with technology today that you just wouldn’t have had 20 or 30 years ago,” Warden told the Express-News last year.

While the project was going on high resolution photographs were developed on 4×5 inch negatives, which have the capacity to last for 500 years of historical existence. Digital copies of the church panoramic view will be sent to congress.

The symposium will open with an evening lecture Feb. 20 by author Charles Porter on Tejano scout Blas Herrera. Online registration runs through Feb. 18 and is $10 for students, $20 for faculty and the general public and $100 for professionals.



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