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County
Bexar
Region
South Texas Plains
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Parks
San Antonio Missions National Park
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San Antonio Missions National Historical Park Information:
In 1718, Franciscans and Spanish representatives established the first mission. Within 13 years, 5 were located along the San Antonio River. Spanish missions were not churches, but communities with the church the focus. The four historic ark missions include the Mission Espada, Mission San Jose, Mission Concepcion, and Mission San Juan. The Alamo is a separate historic site. The four churches hold regular church services. They are open to the public during regular park hours and are closed for special services and funerals. Free guided tours, movies, and demonstrations are scheduled throughout the week. Open daily, 9am-5pm; closed Thanksgiving Day, December 25, and January 1. Admission is free. The best way to view the missions is by car. The total distance between missions is approximately 11 miles. The Visitor Center is located adjacent to Mission San Jose at 6701 San Jose Drive. The Rancho (Mission) de Las Cabras lands in Floresville, Texas were added to the historical park in 1995. For more information, read the Park Brochure.   
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park Mission Trail Map
San Antonio Museum Reach & Mission Riverwalk Hike & Bike Trail Map
 
San Antonio River:
The 240 mile San Antonio River originates in Central Texas from a cluster of springs known as the San Antonio Springs Blue Hole. These headwaters are located approximately 4 miles north of downtown San Antonio at the University of the Incarnate Word. Olmos Creek empties into the river just below its head, and other springs continue to join as the river flows through the city. The river flows in a roughly southeastern path through Bexar, Wilson, Karnes, Goliad, Victoria and Refugio Counties before emptying into the Guadalupe River approximately 10 miles upstream from San Antonio Bay (Town of Seadrift) on the Gulf of Mexico. The most famous portion of the river is the San Antonio River Walk in San Antonio, Texas. Fish Stocking History 
 
Mission Concepcion:
The mission was built in 1755 and named in honor of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and Juan de Acuna. It is the oldest unrestored stone church in America. The original frescos are still intact in four of the interior rooms. Water is available at the mission; food is available nearby. Guided tours are held at 10am and 2pm. 807 Mission Road, 78210. 
 
Mission San Juan Capistrano:
The mission was originally founded in 1716 in east Texas. It was moved to its present location in 1731. The stone church, a friary, and a granary were completed in 1756. At the time, San Juan was a self-sustaining community. Indian artisans produced iron tools and cloth, and prepared hides. Beyond the mission complex, Indian farmers tended orchards and cultivated maize, beans, squash, sweet potatoes and sugar cane in irrigated fields. Rancho de Pataguilla and its 3,500 sheep and almost as many cattle, was located over 20 miles southeast of the mission. Water is available at the mission. Guided tours at are held at 1:30pm and 3pm. 9101 Graft Road, San Antonio, Texas 78214.
 
Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo, and Grist Mill:
This mission was established in 1720 after the Mission San Antonio de Valero (later renamed the Alamo) became over crowded. Known as the “Queen of the Missions,” this is the largest of the missions and was almost fully restored to its original design in the 1930s by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps). The grist mill never ground corn. It only ground wheat because it was built late in the mission period when the mission Indians had acquired a taste for wheat. The mill is mostly a reproduction, and is in operation 5 days a week. Water is available at the mission; food is available nearby. An English language mariachi mass is presented on Sundays. Guided tours are held at 10am, 11am, and 3pm. 6701 San Jose Drive, San Antonio, Texas 78214.
 
Mission San Francisco de la Espada (Mission Espada):
This mission was founded in 1690 as San Francisco de los Tejas near present day Weches, Texas. It was the first mission in Texas. In 1731, the mission was transferred to the San Antonio River area and renamed. A friary was built in 1745. The church was completed in 1756. In order for the Indians to become Spanish citizens and productive inhabitants, the church required them to learn vocation skills such as blacksmithing, weaving, masonry and carpentry. Mission Espada has a functioning 270 year old irrigation system with a dam and aqueduct. Resident birds include herons, egrets, wood ducks, owls, woodpeckers, and migrating warblers and flycatchers. Bank fishing is permitted. The TPWD has been stocking the pond every two weeks for three years. Amenities and activities include picnic tables, swimming, restrooms and a jogging track. Drinking water is available at the mission. Guided tours are held at 2pm and 3:30pm. 10040 Espada Road, San Antonio, TX 78214.  Fish Stocking History 
 
Rancho De Las Cabras, San Antonio Missions National Historic Park, Floresville, TX:
In the mid-1700s, the Mission San Francisco de la Espada, a San Antonio Missions National Historical Park mission, established the Rancho de las Cabras (Goat Ranch) on the San Antonio River for use as grazing land for cattle. Indian vaqueros (cowboys) lived on the Rancho with their families and tended the cattle. Once a week, several cattle were herded to the Mission Espada to feed the Priests and Indians. The original Rancho site included a chapel and fortifications which are now in ruins. Eventually, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department purchased the Rancho Cabras ruins and the 99.5 acres of remaining land. In 1995, the TPWD transferred the land to the National Park Service to be managed by the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio. Future plans for the Rancho de Las Cabras include building a visitors’ center and a parking lot. Toursof the Rancho de Las Cabras are held on the first Saturday of each month, weather permitting. Call (210) 932-1001 for tour information.From Floresville take SH 97 approximately 2 miles south to marker and the historic site.Floresville Texas Map; Click to Enlarge  Floresville Texas Area Map 
 
Rancho (Mission) de Las Cabras (Mission of the Goats), Texas Historical Marker Text:
“A fortified visita of Mission Espada founded 1731 in San Antonio. Situated near Paso de las Mujeres ("Crossing of the Women"), an important ford on the San Antonio River, known to most parties obliged to travel between Mexico and San Antonio. Meadowland along the river and near the crossing was used to pasture cattle owned by Mission Espada. Indians under Espada's protection were kept here to herd the cattle. For the care of souls of the herdsmen, a chapel was built. The 1895 guide, "San Antonio at a Glance," described the Old Cabras site as a 2-acre, diamond-shaped lot with bastions at each end. After secularization of the missions in 1794, lands here were owned by one of the descendants of Spain's colonists from the Canary Islands, Ignacio Calvillo. In turn, the Cabras site was inherited by Calvillo's flamboyant daughter, Dona Maria Del Carmen (born in 1765). Noted for her independent spirit, she forsook her husband, Gavino Delgado, and personally managed the ranch, her long black hair flying in the wind as she rode a great white horse. She kept down Indian troubles by paying tribute in beef. In her time and for a century afterward Old Mission Cabras remained in use for rites of the church.” The ruins and the remaining 95.5 acres of land is now a part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio. Tour s of the Rancho de Las Cabras are held on the first Saturday of each month, weather permitting. Call (210) 932-1001 for tour information.From Floresville take SH 97 approximately 2 miles south to marker and the historic site.(210) 534-8833.