In one of the most legendary movie lines of all time, Pee Wee Herman is told that there is no basement in the Alamo, San Antonio’s most visited historic landmark. Well, there is actually a lower level to the structure — and there are a few other fun facts you may not know.

The Alamo is one of the most iconic landmarks in Texas, and it is visited by 25 million people every year. The Mission San Antonio de Valero, otherwise known as the Alamo, was once a Roman Catholic mission before it became the site of the Battle of the Alamo in 1836. During the Texas Revolution’s 13-day siege, Mexican troops launched an assault on the battle site, killing all of the Texas defenders present. The Texans later defeated the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto.

If you’re planning to visit the great state of Texas, reserve a hotel room in San Antonio and make it a point to visit the Alamo. To pique your interest, following are a few of the interesting lesser-known facts about the battle site, both historical and modern, that will give you more insight into this Texas landmark.

the alamo at sunset

It Wasn’t a Classic Western High-Noon Showdown

When we imagine the Battle of the Alamo, we usually picture the quintessential scene from a western film, with the Texans dying in a dramatic and heroic defense of their fortress. This image has been passed down through history and recreated in the classic John Wayne movie “The Alamo,” but it probably didn’t really happen that way

Historian Philip Tucker wrote the book “Exodus from the Alamo: The Anatomy of the Last Stand Myth,” which tells that the Mexicans actually surprised the Texans with a predawn siege and took them by force. The Texan soldiers were sleeping and woke up from the surprise attack, dying as they tried to escape the fortress rather than defend it.

Phil Collins Is Obsessed With the Alamo

Phil Collins, the English musician best known for his roles as vocalist and drummer for the progressive rock band Genesis, as well as for his solo music, has always been intrigued by the Battle of the Alamo.

In fact, he is so fascinated with the battlefield that he has amassed the biggest and best private collection of Alamo memorabilia in the world. He has been collecting for years and has even recently put together a book of photographs of his collection along with essays from Texas historians.

Collins has said that his fascination goes back to when he was a young child and he used to watch the old Davy Crockett TV series. His collection includes hundreds of cannonballs, documents and other artifacts from the famous battle, all stored at his home in Switzerland.

Ozzy Osbourne Once Peed on the Alamo

One of the strangest stories in Alamo history is when British rocker Ozzy Osbourne was arrested for urinating on it in 1982. He didn’t really urinate on the building itself, but on a monument that was placed there for those who died in the battle, much to the shock and horror of everyone. Ozzy was highly intoxicated at the time and was wearing one of his wife’s dresses and claimed that he thought the monument was just an ordinary wall.

The city of San Antonio was outraged, and Ozzy was arrested for public intoxication and permanently banned from San Antonio. The ban was in place for 10 years until Ozzy was publically pardoned after paying $10,000 to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.

 

While you are in San Antonio, it is definitely worth visiting this iconic landmark that has had such an impact on Texas history. The Alamo is open every day, except for Christmas Day and Christmas Eve, and is free of charge for all visitors. The museum takes donations, if you want to contribute a couple of dollars to keep history well preserved. There are also history talks given every half hour at the main entrance.

Image by Flickr’s Creative Commons