Texas March 10, 2018
This Is The Oldest Place You Can Possibly Go In Texas And Its History Will Fascinate You
Although we were one of the last states added to the Union, Texas history extends much further back in time. Several very important battles took place in our state that were integral to the development of the entire nation. Many of these fights occurred at the San Antonio Missions, which have been preserved and transformed into a national park. Some of them date back to the late 1600s/early 1700s, and visiting them is like stepping through a portal to the past.
The park was established in 1975. In 2013, 15 miles of hiking, biking, and paddling trails were added as part of the Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration and Recreation project. These trails connect the missions to the San Antonio Riverwalk.
Mission Concepcion, the oldest of the four, dates all the way back to 1716. It was originally located in East Texas and served as a means of converting the Hasinai Native Americans to Christianity. It was relocated in 1731, and the Battle of Concepcion was fought here in 1835.
The best preserved of the missions, traces of frescos from when it was first built can still be seen on the walls and ceilings. Catholic Mass is still held here each Sunday.
Mission San Jose was founded in 1720 to house the Coahuiltecan Indians. 350 rooms were built into the walls as well as offices, a dining room, and a pantry.
Official activities ended in 1794 when the lands were granted to the Indians who lived there. After that, soldiers, indigents, and bandits made there home in the mission until 1933, when the CWA and WPA worked tirelessly to restore it.
Mission San Juan was originally founded in East Texas in 1716 before being moved to its present location in 1731. It wasn't nearly as successful as the other three because its grounds didn't support large quantities of crops or livestock.
Like at Mission San Jose, stone living quarters were also constructed for Native peoples here. There were issues, however, with keeping them due to their nomadic culture. The mission was secularized in 1794 and neglected until 1840, when religious orders once again took over. Major restorations were made from the 1930s-1960s, and it became part of the national park in the '80s.
Mission Espada was constructed in 1690 in East Texas and moved to San Antonio in 1731 to avoid French encroachment and assist in converting Native Americans.
An aqueduct can be seen on the grounds, and it remains in use today, carrying water to the mission, its former farm lands, and residents living in the surrounding area.
Have you ever visited the Missions? Which one is your favorite? Let us know your thoughts!