San Fernando Cathedral
The beautiful old cathedral
was the scene of the wedding
of Jim Bowie.
Tomb of the Alamo Heroes
The remains of men who fell
at the Alamo are entombed
inside the cathedral.
San Fernando Cathedral - San Antonio, Texas - San Fernando Cathedral, Texas - San Fernando Cathedral, Texas
San Fernando Cathedral
Called the "heart of San Antonio" by many, the
historic San Fernando Cathedral was built in 1738.
Resting Place of Alamo Heroes
The beautiful old San Fernando Cathedral in
San Antonio, Texas, traces its
origins to 1731 when 55 settlers arrived in
San Antonio to expand the community as a
bulwark against French incursion.

The cornerstone of the existing structure was
laid in 1738 and it has played a key role in
the history of San Antonio, Texas and the
nation ever since. In fact, the dome of the
original church was the point from which all
mileage in Texas was originally measured.

While the current structure has been greatly
expanded and renovated over the years, the
walls of the original still form the sanctuary of
the cathedral.

San Fernando has witnessed many critical
events over its history. Battles were fought
within view of the church during the War for
Mexican Independence (1810-1820) and
slain soldiers were buried there. In addition,
San Fernando was the site of the wedding of
famed knife fighter Jim Bowie and Ursala de
Veramendi in 1831.

The church played a dramatic role during the
1836 battle for which San Antonio is best
known, the siege of
the Alamo. It was from
the tower of San Fernando Cathedral that
General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna
ordered the blood red flag of no quarter
raised at the beginning of the battle. The
banner was a signal to the men inside the
Alamo that they would not be spared.

Inside the church today can be found a small
coffin that most believe holds the remains of
the men who died at the Alamo. Santa Anna
had the bodies burned in giant pyres outside
the fallen fort after the battle, and the ashes
were reported to have later been collected
and buried at San Fernando. Charred bones
and other items were found in a box beneath
the sanctuary railing during a renovation
project in 1936. They are now enshrined in
the cathedral.
The church was greatly expanded between
1868 and 1873. The original tower used by
Santa Anna and the eastern wall were torn
down during the construction project. In 1874
the church became a cathedral when Pope
Pius IX named San Antonio a diocese. It
became an archdiocese in 1926.

Over the years, San Fernando Cathedral has
welcomed presidents, governors, senators
and an array of other dignitaries. Pope John
Paul II visited San Fernando on September
13, 1987, praying and speaking to students.

Please click here to visit the cathedral's
website for directions and more information.
The Alamo Coffin
It is believed that this small
coffin at San Fernando
Cathedral holds the remains
of men who died at the Alamo.
Photos by Christina Martin
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.