Mission Espada may be the smallest of the San Antonio area missions, but that only adds to its charm.
The oldest of the Texas Missions, it’s an experience you don’t want to miss.
With most of the buildings over 200 years old, Mission Espada has an “original” feel. As you explore the church and grounds, You will marvel at how historic and well-preserved it is.
Founded in 1690 and re-located to the San Antonio River area in 1731, the mission was started by Spanish Catholics and populated by the Pacaos Indians. Over the years they added various structures to the mission, but most of their effort was put towards clearing fields and creating a gravity-powered irrigation system.
In 1745, they successfully completed an aqueduct, portions of which are still in operation today.
Like the other missions in the area, European diseases such as smallpox and measles, as well as conflicts with local Native American tribes, led to a decrease in population that eventually shut the mission down completely. In 1824 it was fully secularized and began to decline, although it was briefly used during the Texas Revolution.
Wool from the sheep was then brought to the mission, washed, spun, and woven. Wouldn’t that have been amazing to watch?
Well, lucky for you, there is still a working loom at Mission Espada. You can view it for yourself in the Contact Station. And if you visit on a Tuesday afternoon, you will even be able to watch a live weaving demonstration!
Mission Espada is notable for its distinctive Spanish design features in the bell tower, brick archways, and the doorway of the church. It may be simple, but it’s beautiful and rich in art.
To see this historic treasure, head to 10040 Espada Rd, San Antonio, TX 78214. Parking and entrance are free, and you will marvel at how well-preserved it is.
Needless to say, it is well worth the stop.
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