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.
4 thoughts on “Tell ‘Long-Winded Jackanapes’ To Leave Bowie’s Street Alone”
From Kathleen MILAM Carter
Mary Carmack speaking for the DRT, self proclaimed harbingers of Texas history,
“doesn’t think changing Bowie street to Avenue of the Americas is a problem as
long as it doesn’t affect the Alamo area”. So much for historic San Antonio,
the love of history and those who had a part in making that history.
Adina De Zavala is probably turning over in her grave as we are losing our
history one school and one street at a time.
Mr. Quick, it is not the name of the street or even the location that gets
customers knocking at a restaurant’s door. Most restaurateurs understand that
its good food and service that gets and keeps patrons coming back. If Mr. Quick
and Landry’s don’t understand those fundamentals it is doubtful that their
revenue is going to increase no matter what they call the street. Your
restaurant is in the center of downtown San Antonio so location is not the
problem. Your revenue problem may have more to do with competition and
the need to improve the quality and service of the Chart House restaurant then
the name of the street. Asking for a street name change to improve your business
is truly grasping at straws.
Once the name of this street is changed from Bowie to Avenue of the Americas (a
really nondescript name), another part of San Antonio’s uniqueness will be
lost to commerce and the Tower Restaurant will have to find yet another excuse
for why revenue is down.
Amen! Our history of the Alamo may be a mix of myth, wishful thinking, and actual fact, but it makes us who we are. The tower is fine. But it is the Alamo and the other missions that are the heart and soul of our city. Perhaps we should create a new version of the old battle cry: Remember the heroes of the Alamo!
I agree completely! Leave Bowie Street alone. All people have to do is look up to find the Tower. I think the high cost of the food in their restaurant is the reason people are staying away. A friend went recently and said a small piece of fish cost $34 and didn’t include a side. He had to pay another $6 for a vegetable. Sigh.
As a relative of James Bowie, I am highly offended that San Antonio would even consider changing the name of Bowie street to honor a restaurant. He ultimately gave his life for Texas……
Need I say more.