Journal Of The Life And Culture Of San Antonio

French Flavoring V: A Favorite Architect, Giraud. and a Favorite Grocer, Grenet

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Francis Giraud

Architect Francis Giraud, whose parents had been born in France, was involved in the building not only of the Ursuline Academy but of old St. Mary’s church and St. Mary’s College. He’s credited by local architects with developing the plans and specifications for reconstruction of San Fernando Cathedral.

He was a civil engineer, architect, and surveyor. He established the boundaries of the missions in 1848. While he was the City Engineer, he pleaded in 1852 with the City Council to hold for the city’s use the property at the head of the river. But Alderman James R. Sweet was able to acquire the property for himself. Giraud was mayor from November 13, 1872 to January 19, 1875.

The Alamo Convent “Fort”

Another Frenchman who affected San Antonio history was Augustine Honore Grenet, whose store can be seen in memorable photographs showing the two-story convent building beside the Alamo church. He had covered the convento, the scene of much of the fighting, with two-story wooden arcades, octagonal turrets, crenelated cornices and even false wooden cannon. On the west side of the building were the words, printed large: The Alamo. He used the Alamo church as a warehouse, and had his name, H. Grenet, printed in large letters on its face. His store, which later was used for another general merchandise company, Hugo & Schmeltzer, advertised:

"Wholesale Grocer and General Commission Merchant, Importer of Wines, Liquors and Cigars. Dry Goods. Boots and Shoes. China, Crockery, Clothing, Glassware and Fancy Goods."

--Frank W. Jennings, 1992

See:

Alamo Images Changing Perceptions of a Texas Experience., (Dallas: DeGolyer Library and Southern Methodist University Press, 1985) pp. 38-39

Frederick C. Chabot, With the Makers of San Antonio , (Yanaguana Society Publications 4, San Antonio, 1937). pg 263.