Friday, May 4, 2012

San Antonio Mission Trail....Part 1

A few weeks back, our friends, Mike & Jorj, were in San Antonio.
Mike was there for work...Jorj was just hanging out.
When we asked Jorj if she'd ever been to the missions,
her answer of 'What missions?' seemed like a 'No'.

Mr. P. & Jorj

So, we headed out and picked her up, while Mike was off somewhere, working.
There are five missions along the Mission Trail on San Antonio River.

Our first stop...Mission San Jose.
Officially Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo.

This mission was founded in 1720...two years after the famous Alamo.

The building of the church began in 1768.
It is Spanish colonial Baroque architecture.

It was deemed 'The Queen of Missions'.

By the time the church was begun, there were 350 Indians living in the 84,

two-room apartments.  Very nice, for it's day.

A diorama inside one of the great halls, shows a day in the life of the mission.

The purpose of the mission, was to 'convert the local hunters and gatherers
into Catholic, tax-paying subjects of the King of Spain.'

It did afford them safety from other marauding tribes....mainly Comanche and Apache.

Their whole lives changed.  They learned to produce their food.
They planted fields, raised animals, and learned skills.
They learned to weave and sew, and carpentry and blacksmithing.

They learned a new language, and of course,
a new religion.

The mission of the Missions, was to turn this New World into a version of the Old World.

The church is really beautiful.  A lot of statuary and carvings.

It's difficult right now to get a good shot of the front.  They're restoring parts of the carvings.

Trying to repair the wear and tear 250 years.

One famous ornament on this church, is the
Rose Window.
The sculptor is unknown.
Legend tells of Pedro Huizar, a carpenter, who started the window as a tribute to his sweetheart, Rosa.
Rosa was tragically lost at sea, on her way to the New World.
Then, it is said, Pedro finished the window 'as a declaration of enduring love.'
It's also said, the window is more likely named for
Saint Rose of Lima, the first saint of the New World.

There was a record of a grist mill being on the property.  Another skill to learn.

And, another way for the mission to prosper.
Evidence of a rill, to turn the wheel for the grindstone, was found in the 1930s, while workers were digging a drainage ditch.
A replica was then built on the site.

Though Mission San Jose ceased to be a mission, in February of 1824.
It was 'secularized' and turned over the Indians living there and to a Chaplain Maynes.
The mission was neglected for many years.  In 1931, the Franciscans returned and live there today.

Picture taken June, 2011.

Today, The National Park Service takes care of preservation and protects the history here.
Masses are still performed.

Doing some research for this, I read that you shouldn't miss the stairway to the belfry.  It's carved of one piece of wood.  Well...we missed that....on TWO visits in the last 12 months.
Guess we'll just have to go back again.

If you're in San Antonio, the Mission Trail is quite an interesting view of the history of the area.
I'll tell you about some of the others soon.

Have a Great Weekend...


  1. You know, I've been to the Alamo many times - way too crowded - but I've not visited any of the missions. This one looks fascinating, and I bet the others are, too!

  2. Something else more quiet for my next trip there! The diorama view showing a geometric garden, and the agaves...gets my gears turning!

  3. I love historical tours like this one. Very Informative. The detail work is amazing on the buildings.

  4. One of my friends and I took a half day off of work to do the Missions tour. phenomenal. much better than the Alamo - I mean, the Alamo has its place and all, but San Jose is way cooler.

  5. Such a beautiful place. Looks like you had a great day for your tour. I look forward to seeing the rest of your tour.


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