CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

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CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby RLC-GTT on Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:33 am

Well, here goes. In this thread, I will be presenting images of the Alamo and the town of San Antonio de Bexar from the 3D virtual interactive map that I have researched and created over the past few years. As I explained in another thread, it is a three mile square flat ground plane upon which I have meticulously laid out the streets, roads, acequias, creek and river of San Antonio de Bexar as it was during the Texian War for Independence of 1835-1836.

These features are not arbitrarily placed, but carefully drawn over a checkerboard tapestry of hundreds of high resolution satellite images of modern San Antonio stretching north to south from San Pedro Springs to half way between the town and Mission Concepcion and west to east from the Upper Presidio Road west of the Campo Santo to the Powder House and Watch Tower. For historians, this provides a uniquely navigable map. Do you wish to know how long and wide Plaza de Valero was? You can measure it down to the foot on this map. We are pretty sure exactly where the Powder House was, but some descriptions still place it a mile from the Alamo while others call it 1,000 yards. It was in fact 2,130 yards.

In addition to this highly useful 2-dimensional map, it is also a 3-dimensional model. Within the limits of my 2006 computer, I have built an accurate interactive model of Bexar and the Alamo. Unfortunately, until I can get a higher-powered computer, these are in two separate SketchUp files. As of this writing, the Bexar model is 128 MB and the Alamo is 132 MB. If I were to combine them (which I plan to do), my poor virtual memory would make navigation impossible and crash the program ever time I'd try to perform some action. Even now, it can't walk and chew gum at the same time.

That said, I have been able to create perhaps 60 percent of Bexar and a fair La Villita. More structures need to be added north of town along Soledad, Acequia and Flores Streets as well as in the Potrero (the area within the river horseshoe bend) and Laredito (the area across San Pedro Creek behind the Governors' Palace along the south-running Laredo Road. Pueblo del Alamo structures are on the Alamo model. Since the 3-D model is navigable, anybody owning a copy (when that is possible) will be able to take their own infinite number of photographs from any angle high or low. Artists can have a true template to use as a springboard for their work. When standing in San Fernando's bell tower, the Powder House will be in its correct position on the horizon in relation to the Alamo.

Tonight I am sending Marty Brazil a bunch of photos from the Alamo model to get this started. He has kindly offered to help and, when he is able to post them all (poor fellow), I'll add general comments at the end. Hopefully, I will master the photo program and be able to post them myself shortly and have them capable of being carried forward for comments.

[Note: These Alamo model photos are on the "Dioramas and Models" thread.]

If nothing else, it's great eye candy for Alamo buffs. Have fun. ;)
Last edited by RLC-GTT on Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby RLC-GTT on Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:54 am

Stay tuned.
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby Wade Dillon on Sat Oct 12, 2013 1:55 am

:mrgreen: :ugeek:
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby K Hale on Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:30 am

Bookmark!
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby RLC-GTT on Sat Oct 12, 2013 4:43 am

I'm coming! I'm coming! :lol:
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby MartyB on Sat Oct 12, 2013 2:44 pm

RLC-GTT wrote:I'm coming! I'm coming! :lol:


I'm awaitin'...

Can't wait to see what it'll look like...
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby K Hale on Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:44 am

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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby K Hale on Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:45 am

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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby K Hale on Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:45 am

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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby K Hale on Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:45 am

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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby K Hale on Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:45 am

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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby K Hale on Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:46 am

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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby K Hale on Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:46 am

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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby K Hale on Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:47 am

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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby K Hale on Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:48 am

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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby K Hale on Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:48 am

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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby K Hale on Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:48 am

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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby K Hale on Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:49 am

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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby K Hale on Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:49 am

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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby K Hale on Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:49 am

Today's group of images begins here: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1496&st=0&sk=t&sd=a#p112761

Rich's commentary to follow.
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby RLC-GTT on Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:03 am

K Hale wrote:Today's group of images begins here: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1496&st=0&sk=t&sd=a#p112761

Rich's commentary to follow.

O thank you, wielder of the internet know-how. :D

Not sure where this is all going, but I had it in me and it just had to come out. (I think Davy Crockett said something like that about his autobiography. :lol: ).
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby RLC-GTT on Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:51 am

K Hale wrote:Image

Hahaha! Seeing Marty's drawing of Michael's set from the air as the last post before this picture, had I been more astute I would have used an angle on my model that duplicates the drawing. Sort of art copies art copies art copies reality. :lol:

Anyway, this is the center of my virtual, interactive map-model. The angle is a view of San Antonio de Bexar from the east as it appeared in 1835-36 looking due west. The street to the left of the San Antonio River bend has variously been called Calle Presidio, Calle Potrero, Main St. and now Commerce St. In 1835-36, it was known as Potrero because it had been the main access for a century to the community grazing pasture ("potrero") which was the whole area within the loop of the river. The first plaza is Plaza de las Islas (Plaza of the Islands, settled by the Canary Islanders in 1731). The second is Plaza de Armas which grew around the 1718 military Presidio de Bexar. Separating them is San Fernando Parish Church. The thin grey buildings with the fenced in yard behind on the near side of Plaza de las Islas, facing the church, are the Casas Reales or Royal Houses -- the cabildo which housed the Spanish comunity leaders and the ayuntamiento (town council). Later, one or all of these structures became the Council House, which became infamous on March 19, 1840, for the "Council House Fight" when a meeting between Anglo soldiers and Comanche Indians turned into a massacre.

Most of Bexar lay to the north of the plazas (to the right on the picture) because the Labores de Abajo (the lower fields) came almost up to them on the south. The street going left to right nearest the river is Calle Soledad (still called Soledad St.) and the one parallel to it on the west was Calle de Acequia because the San Pedro Acequia (the town's drinking water) ran down the middle of it. It is now Main Avenue. At the far right edge of the photo are two L-shaped stone houses. The further one belonged to Antonio de la Garza and the nearer (with the yard backing down to the river) is the Veramendi Palace. Both played key roles in the five-day Battle of Bexar from December 5 to 10, 1835, and were greatly damaged by cannon fire.

Note: All street angles and odd dog-legs as well as each bend of the river and other water ways are precisely laid down from early town maps, military plats, real estate maps and placed upon a template of modern satellite images. Building plans, styles and details were replicated when possible from 19th. century drawings and photographs.
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby RLC-GTT on Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:56 am

K Hale wrote:Image

A classic angle of San Fernando Church.
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby RLC-GTT on Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:59 am

K Hale wrote:Image

The rear of San Fernando taken from a semi-circular horse pen known to have existed in the S.E. corner of the old Spanish presidio. This original Spanish Colonial back of San Fernando still stands on the east side of modern Military Plaza although the front half of the building has been replaced (in the 1870's) by the French Gothic cathedral structure. Kristi will have to describe the horse, since she won't let me stable it. ;)
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby RLC-GTT on Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:18 am

K Hale wrote:Image

The gray building just south of San Fernando facing Plaza de las Islas was allegedly a fandango hall at the time of the Alamo belonging to one Madam Bustamente, but was not where the fandango of February 22, 1836, was held. That distinction goes to the home of Bexareno Domingo Bustillo on Soledad Street, but I have not yet located exactly where it was -- so we'll have to have the fandango at Madam Bustamente's (unless somebody knows Madam Candelaria well enough -- Her place is back by the Governor's Palace. ;) )
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby RLC-GTT on Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:57 am

K Hale wrote:Image

We are now looking north up Acequia Street. The San Pedro Acequia came from San Pedro Creek just below the springs 1.54 miles N.N.W. of the bell tower. It was dug by the presidial soldados prior to 1731 to support the fort and their families, the townspeople of Villa Capital de San Fernando. The "Main Ditch" as it was later known was a contested item during the Battle of Bexar in December, 1835. The gray house with the maroon trim facing us just to the right of Acequia St. is the Yturri House, which was right smack-dab in the middle of the Battle of Bexar and, two-and-a-half months later, became Santa Anna's headquarters during the Siege of the Alamo, during which it suffered further damage from the Alamo's cannon.
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby RLC-GTT on Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:08 am

K Hale wrote:Image

In addition to its obvious value as an educational tool, my 3D navigable virtual Bexar model is tons of fun. Since it can be viewed from any angle near or far; high or low, sometimes I just spend several hours wandering the streets and taking photographs. The shadow tool in the program allows me to set the hour, day and month. This is my Alfred Hitchcock Vertigo angle.

Notice that the church is a different color and reflectance in this shot than the others. It was an earlier picture, before I settled on the color palette I wanted. Kristi and my niece Connie will tell you (they were my sounding boards) that I went through a whole range of shades before I found one I could live with. Some of it simply had to do with how it "read" in the various angles. I can well appreciate what production designers like Michael Corenblith and Alfred Ybarra go through for the camera.

The tree is an homage to Michael Corenblith. He was so proud of the look of the trees he planted in his church yard as well as the Pecan tree outside the Alamo. (I kinda liked 'em too.]
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby RLC-GTT on Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:32 am

K Hale wrote:Image

Image

Kristi's dream house (lol): the Veramendi Palace. It's a difficult place not to come under the spell of. ;) I certainly resisted show all the battle damage it sustained during the Battle of Bexar, being fired upon by cannon from three points of the compass by General Cos' artillery and greatly altered for fortification purposes by Col. Johnson's men. Michael Corenblith likewise avoided showing too much damage to his set. The one tree across the river is in the exact spot where the cypress still stands that is believed to be where the Mexican sniper was hiding when he shot Ben Milam as he passed from the entrance of the Veramendi House into the garden.
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby Seguin on Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:44 am

Absolutely awesome! I just love how precise it is. A great educational tool indeed.

Now, where´s the Seguin house? ;) :D
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby RLC-GTT on Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:49 am

K Hale wrote:Image

Looking south past the Veramendi Palace on the left toward Plaza de las Islas and San Fernando Church. Here you see that I have the "set dressed" for the Battle of Bexar (what a wonderful video game it could be!). The Texians' trench has been dug for communication between their men, half in the Veramendi Palace and the other half in the Antonio de la Garza host down the street to the right (Veramendi Street). Here you can get a feel for the furious nature of the Battle of Bexar. Notice Cos' cannon on the roof of San Fernando. It had a clear shot at the house, 200 yards away. Also, at the far end of Soledad St., where it enters the plaza, you can just make out the 8-foot high palisade protecting another battery aimed right down the street and at the house, a mere 98 yards away. Cos' guns at the Alamo were battering it from behind, and a possible battery in a yard north of the Governor's Palace was pounding it from the front. The hole in the north end of the Veramendi Palace is documented as the way the Texians' entrance, and obviously on the only side where Cos couldn't bring guns to play on it.
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby RLC-GTT on Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:56 am

K Hale wrote:Image

The Mexican sniper's point-of-view from the "cypress" tree (Hey! It's all I could find! lol) across the river. Notice that, having placed the house, its kitchen and the tree on their exact spots, a clear shot at Milam coming out of the entrance into the courtyard would have been possible. Actually, one of the eye witness accounts makes it even easier. He said Milam took a small telescope and was looking toward a building on Potrero Street that he figured might be Cos' H.Q., so he might have even stepped over toward the south wall of the yard. If he did, then the target would have been 100 to 105 yards from the cazador.
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby RLC-GTT on Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:20 am

K Hale wrote:Image

We are looking E.N.E. up Potrero Street from the N.E. corner of the Plaza de las Islas. That tree you were just in is the one across the river in the bend. The closer tree is also one that is chronicled. Mary Adams Maverick described it in her memoirs. Sam and Mary lived in the house on the N.E. corner of Potrero and Soledad (with the yard backing down to the river bend) from 1840 to 1849. She mentioned a beautiful old tree on the river bank to the east just outside her yard. It was close enough to reach through the fence, and she said that its roots made ridges in their yard. The house had previously been the Barrera house during the revolution.

The house on the right and facing the plaza has more direct significance for the Alamo historian. It was owned by Don Ramon Musquiz and rented to Almeron and Susanna Dickinson. Susanna boarded Dr. John Sutherland and Davy Crockett here until the start of the siege. It was at this front door that her husband picked her and the baby up on his horse and took them to the Alamo, telling her to "ask no questions". (I have often thought this was kinda strange, but -- if true -- it could suggest that perhaps Susanna normally.... asked far too many questions.)

Cos' Soledad St. battery is seen from the back in the bottom left corner of the picture. It is aimed at the Veramendi Palace, but would surely take down the SoloServe first. lol.

At far end of the street, you can see the small footbridge that crossed from Potrero St. to Alameda St. (all Commerce now) and the Alameda beyond. Since this was a footbridge (connecting the town to the Alamo) and it was probably already crowded with people running to the fort, he crossed at the ford to La Villita way off the right side of the picture.
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby RLC-GTT on Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:44 am

K Hale wrote:Image

Here is the ford to La Villita (seen beyond). As in the previous photo, we are looking east. The shape, curves and width of this ford were taken from the early maps. This was quite rewarding a creation since it truly connects with existing mid-nineteenth century photographs of the crossing and the cut. The dam is the Concepcion Dam which (like all mission dams) raised the water level to allow it to feed the ground-level Acequia de Concepcion (known informally as "el Pajalache") -- you can just see it heading off to the right from the top of the dam. While I followed the footprint of the dam shown in the 1845 map San Antonio de Bejar and its Ancient Wards (which George Nelson correctly claims is the "most accurate early map known"), it seems a bit elaborate and I would suggest that its appearance was more like a huge beaver dam, using trees and branches supported by some rocks -- not a work of architecture but still following this basic size and pattern. It was even with modern-day Presa St. (presa means dam in Spanish.)

The wagon is crossing at the ford. The modern Navarro St. bridge crosses at this point today. if you are on the River Walk at this point, you can actually still notice that the banks of the river are very low here -- you can look right across into parking lots and streets. In 1836, it was the only place in miles where the river broadened (and thus was much shallower). Plus, being just below the dam added to its shallowness. Folks still washed their buggies and soaked their wheels in the exact spot where my wagon is way into the 20th. century -- even though the bridge already criss-crossed their path.

This is where the Dickensons crossed on February 23 and Susanna later remembered bullets hitting the water around them.

The footbridges are the same ones Sanchez-Navarro indicates on his battle plat and says that, on the night of March 5, the soldados were aided in crossing the river "by two boards." His plat shows this feature almost precisely like this.
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby RLC-GTT on Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:01 am

K Hale wrote:Image

This higher angle shows the relationship between the ford, the cut, La Villita and S. Alamo St. going left to right beyond the river loop. It was the Camino de las Misiones Abajo then (Road to the Lower Missions). The Alameda is seen on Alameda Street (which widened from 40 feet to 80 feet for its tree-lined stretch from the one acequia to the other. Beyond this point, it was known as the Road to the Powder House (seen at the far end with its 30 foot high watch tower) and seems to have been built as a military road solely for that purpose -- not as the "Gonzales Road" which crossed the ridge a bit farther south. The Plaza de Valero and the Alamo would be off the upper left side of the picture. The bend in the river at the end of La Villita is where the Arneson River Theater is now. The tiny house on the Potrero to the left is the McMullen house, which was in the area where the circular parking garage is between Market and Commerce Streets today. The area behind the house is where Santa Anna's army established an "entrenched encampment" on February 25 while the battle raged on the south side of the Alamo, according to Travis' after-action report.
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby RLC-GTT on Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:28 am

K Hale wrote:Image

And finally (for now), the classic Herman Lungkwitz view of the Alameda looking east. The Powder House and Watch Tower can be seen in the distance to the right of the trees -- exactly where Lungkwitz shows them.

A word about elevation. I built this model on a flat plane, not attempting to employ the true topographical contours of the area around San Antonio. Powder House Hill has been overplayed in art and film. It wasn't close. It wasn't high. It was a long ridge over 2,200 yards from the river. There were two prominences on it. The Powder House wasn't on either of them. According to topographical map information cross checked with Google Earth elevations, the base of the tower was 65 feet higher than the base of the Alamo church. The tower itself was 30 feet high. Thus, on my flat ground plane, the ridge line on which the tower is standing should be about two watch tower heights higher than it is. The top of the hill therefore wouldn't quite reach the bottom limb on that farthest tree on the left.

Thanks again to Kristi for posting these for me. More soon.
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby MartyB on Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:36 pm

RLC-GTT wrote:
K Hale wrote:Image

A classic angle of San Fernando Church.


"Classic" is right...It is my favorite view of my favorite building in old San Antonio de Bexar...

OUTSTANDING work Rich!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby K Hale on Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:52 pm

Excellent!
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby gtj222 on Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:24 pm

Rich, this is excellent stuff. Congrats, my friend.
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby RLC-GTT on Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:00 pm

Thanks all! Yes, Marty's first shot of Fred Ray's drawing was the first time I ever saw San Fernando Church when I got the book at the Alamo in 1958. And the Corenblithachurch and the real thing. Perfect timing.
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Re: CURILLA'S VIRTUAL SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR

Postby RLC-GTT on Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:41 pm

NOTE FOR NEWCOMERS: All of my posted model photos are, of course, Copyright protected in my name (Richard L. Curilla) as of October 12, 2013.
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