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Missions in Texas

America's most famous Spanish mission goes incognito

My sources tell me that the Spanish founded over 50 missions in what was then Texas, which included parts of what is now Louisiana and Mexico.

But only a handful remain today, and these can be divided into three sections. By a fluke, while traveling to Louisiana with my aunt and uncle for Mardi Gras when I was 21 or thereabouts, I saw all five of the ones stretching south from downtown San Antonio; the southernmost of these is only eight or so miles south of there.

That northernmost one, in San Antonio, is probably the best known Spanish mission in America, though few realize that it was a mission at all. I'm talking of Misión San Antonio de Valero, better known as The Alamo--you know, the one where Davy Crockett died!

San Antonio Missions

Here are the five missions that constitute San Antonio Missions National Historical Park (well, only four, actually, as the Alamo is under separate supervision):
  1. Misión San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo) (map / Wiki)
  2. Misión Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña (Mission Concepción) (map / Wiki)
  3. Misión San José y San Miguel de Aguayo (Mission San José) (map / Wiki)
  4. Misión San Juan Capistrano (map / Wiki)
  5. Misión San Francisco de la Espada (Mission Espada) (map / Wiki)
The El Paso Mission Trail

Two more missions--plus the Presidio Chapel of San Elizario (map / Wiki)--are part of a nine-mile "El Paso Mission Trail" running along Socorro Road. The missions were built to accommodate refugees from the New Mexico's Pueblo Revolt of 1680.
  1. Ysleta Mission (map / Wiki) in El Paso proper was reconstructed sometime after 1829 when a flood destroyed the original structure.
  2. Nuestra Señora de la Concepción del Socorro (map / Wiki) is a few miles southeast of El Paso; it was reconstructed around 1840.
Goliad State Park and Historic Site

Miles and miles downriver from San Antonio--about 90 miles by road--lies the town of Goliad, and just south of there is the Goliad State Park and Historic Site.
  1. Mission Nuestra Señora del Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga (map / Wiki) is in the park itself. The church was restored (or reconstructed) by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1935 and 1941.
  2. Mission Nuestra Señora del Rosario (map / Wiki), a site three or four miles upriver hosts the remains of this little-known mission. A tasty view of the ruins can be seen in Google Satellite View.

Google Map:

  • Use + /- or mouse wheel to zoom in and out.
  • Click to close the hand to move around.
  • (The two functions above are accomplished with two fingers on mobile devices.)
  • Click the square-with-arrow on the left to open or close the index of sites. (Works better if you zoom in first.)
  • Click the three-dot thingy in the upper right to share the map with others.
  • Click the "four corners" in the upper right to go to the full map.

Last updated May 5, 2019

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