James Bowie: You know, if you live five more years, you might just be a great man.
William Travis: I think I will probably have to settle for what I am now.
From 2004 Film The Alamo
The pair did not make it five more years. Among the things preserving their greatness, however, are the knife bearing Bowie’s name, the lore surrounding Travis’ line in the sand, Travis Park and a pair of streets in downtown San Antonio.
As it evidently is deemed acceptable to intermingle reel and real history when it comes to The Alamo, I do not hesitate to allow a movie director to put words in James Bowie’s mouth to help defend the street that bears his name in downtown San Antonio. A block or so of it is under siege by some corporate types Bowie might have called “long-winded jackanapes.”
According to the San Antonio Express-News, some believe the Tower of the Americas, O’Neil Ford’s prominent erection on the city’s skyline, is so difficult for visitors to spot they need to see a street sign bearing its name. The street getting picked on is Bowie’s namesake.
If a body is too blind to find the Tower of the Americas, how in the world would that person ever be able to spot a street sign? Maybe the sign also could have an aural aide for the visually impaired. Perhaps it could be equipped with a recording of a Chart House theme song playing over and over during the hours it is open.
Street names are an important part of a city’s history and should not be changed arbitrarily to suit the marketing strategy of a business located there. Few things confuse drivers more than streets that change names mid-intersection, and downtown already has way too many of these. Dolorosa/Commerce, Presa/Jefferson and Broadway/Losoya cause drivers to assume they have made wrong turns and to unpredictably slam on brakes at green lights.
Bowie did not manage to live five more years, but his fame draws more visitors to San Antonio than a restaurant on top of the Tower ever will. We might not know where all his ashes lie buried, but let him at least retain the honor of having his street, short as it is, remain intact.