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What is: The Alamo Village, the remains of the movie set built for John Wayne’s “The Alamo,” then used in numerous other movies, documentaries, commercials and music videos, as well as a tourist attraction

What was: The set was built by James T. “Happy” Shahan of Brackettville, who in 1995 was named the “Father of the Texas movie industry.” Shahan began building the set on his ranch in September, 1957 for John Wayne, who had tried for years to make a movie about the Battle of the Alamo. As Wayne ran out of money and called a halt to construction, Shahan agreed to continue working while Wayne raised more money, if Wayne would agree to building full sets with four walls, floor and roofs, rather than simply facades. Wayne signed on to the deal. Filming began in August, 1959.

The town is a representation of the village of San Antonio de Béxar circa 1836. The building of the set required over 1.5 million adobe bricks (which were manufactured on site), 14 miles of gravel road and a 4,000-foot runway. The $12 million building program involved up to 400 workmen at one time. Artisans from Mexico made adobe bricks as they were made three centuries ago. More than a million bricks were used to construct 200,000 square feet of permanent buildings. The Alamo replica was based on careful research that included obtaining plans sent to Spain by the Catholic priests who built the mission. There were no “false front” streets. Electrical and telephone wiring was concealed in more than ten miles of underground casing.

 

What is: Alamo Village, Bracketville Texas,  was a movie set and tourist attraction north of Brackettville, Texas.

What was: It was the first movie location built in Texas, originally constructed for and best known as the setting for The Alamo (1960), directed by John Wayne and starring Wayne, Richard Widmark, Laurence Harvey and Frankie Avalon.

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, made of real adobe and brick, resulting in a functional replica of a western town. The set included a full-scale re-creation of the Alamo compound as it would have appeared in 1836, as well as a western village including a cantina and restaurant, a trading post, an Indian store, a church, a jail, a blacksmith shop and more. The set won the American Cowboy Culture Award in 1998.

One of the main street buildings would be turned into a John Wayne Western Museum with celebrity galleries since the site was also open as a tourist attraction. As a once thriving Western-style attraction visitors could go on hay rides, watch staged gunfights, trick roping exhibitions and other activities.

For years after the 1960 Alamo production, Shahan preserved the set and, over the years, over a dozen films about the Alamo have been shot there. In addition, over 100 other western movies as well as documentaries, music videos and commercials have been shot using various parts of the set. Frank Thompson, a film historian, noted that each production changed the set in some way, big or small, and that the changes appear in each new movie about the Alamo, documenting the current view of authenticity over time. The 2004 Disney movie about the Alamo was not shot on this set, but in a new set built in Dripping Springs, Texas. films about the Alamo have been shot at this location. In addition, over 100 western movies (eg Bandolero, Barbarosa, Lonesome Dove and Gone to Texas) as well as documentaries, music videos and commercials have been shot using various parts of the set. Source: Wikipedia

In January 2018, there was a liquidations sale of all of the props.

What is: a church and a few other buildings with a dirt road, west of Lajitas Texas on Texas Highway 170 (considered one of the most beautiful drives in America)

What was: Contrabando is a ghost town within the Big Bend Ranch State Park. The Contrabando consisted of an original adobe building called ‘La Casita’ and several later additions that became part of the Contrabando during its use as a movie set. The movie set was constructed in 1985 for the Roy Clark film Uphill all the Way. The site has been used as a set for nine movies including John Sayles’ 1996 movie Lone Star; as well as Dead Man’s Walk and Streets of Laredo, which were part of the Lonesome Dove miniseries based upon the novel by Larry McMurtry.

In September 2008, heavy rains and flooding occurred in Ojinaga, Mexico. The rain, and the ensuing release of water from local flood control structures, caused widespread flooding, and resulted in damage to the movie set buildings at the Contrabando. The original Casita was not damaged. In 2015, the buildings, except for the Casita, were removed for safety reasons.