The Alamo Village built for John Wayne’s film “The Alamo” is more true to the 1836 version of the city than the actual historic site.
The real Alamo City now includes only three buildings and is surrounded by the skyscrapers of a bustling city.
When James T. “Happy” Shahan began construction of the film set in 1957 the goal was to create a facade of the town. The plan expanded, augmenting buildings with roofs, floors, and four walls, resulting in a functional replica of the original town. As part of the set, there is a functioning cantina and restaurant, a trading post, a church, a jail, and a blacksmith shop. The John Wayne Western Museum and a celebrity gallery were built for the tourists after production. The replica is accompanied by an accurate representation of the Village of San Antonio de Béxar of the 1830s. Over the years, the Alamo Village has acquired an impressive collection of 1830s props including antique tools, vehicles, and even a real herd of longhorn cattle.
Since the end of production of “The Alamo, ” the site has been the location for 12 movies about the Alamo, over 100 other western films, and numerous documentaries, music video, and commercials. The village closed in 2009 with the death of Shahan’s daughter and heir, and reopened in 2010, but with no shows, stores or restaurants.