The San Antonio de Padua Mission was founded in San Antonio in 1716 by the Franciscan Father, Antonio Olivares, and after merging with the San Francisco Solano Mission in 1718, it was officially founded as the San Antonio de Valero Mission. The present site was selected in 1724. It was named in honor of Saint Anthony de Padua and the Duke of Valero, a Spanish Viceroy. The cornerstone of this chapel was laid May 8, 1744. Founded for the purpose of Christianizing and educating the Indians, it later became a fortress and was the scene of many conflicts prior to the immortal siege of 1836. Its activity as a mission began to wane after 1765 and it was abandoned in 1793 and the Mission archives were removed to San Fernando, the parish church.
During Mexico's war for independence from Spain, a company of Spanish soldiers from Alamo del Parras, Coahuila, Mexico, occupied the abandoned mission, using its buildings as barracks for a number of years. From this association probably originated the name, "Alamo."
According to some historians, the name "Alamo" was derived from a grove of cottonwood trees growing on the banks of the Acequia, "Alamo" being the Spanish word for cottonwood.