San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

Center for the State of the Parks: Park Assessments

Published March 2008


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Located within the city of San Antonio, Texas, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park preserves four 18th-century Spanish missions--Mission Espada, Mission San Juan, Mission Concepción, and Mission San José--as well as the outbuildings and landscapes that surround them, for a total of 826 acres. The Park Service does not own the churches associated with the missions; these are still active parishes owned by the Archdiocese of San Antonio. But the Park Services does care for all the buildings not associated with the active parishes, and it owns and manages other historic structures within the park.

Each year, the park hosts about one million visitors who come to enjoy the missions' stone walls, graceful archways, religious frescos, and handcarved wooden doors; learn about the history of the Spanish missions and the people who lived within the missions' walls; and observe herons, egrets, wood ducks, owls, and woodpeckers in the park's riparian areas.

Recognizing San Antonio Missions National Historical Park's significance to our shared national heritage, NPCA's Center for State of the Parks endeavored to determine the conditions of the cultural resources protected within the park. Because the park's natural resources are limited, NPCA did not rate conditions of natural resources at this time.

Current overall conditions of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park's known cultural resources rated “fair” with a score of 71 out of 100. Both cultural landscapes and history scored highly, as both resource areas are well documented and well interpreted and have a dedicated staff specialist. But the park faces challenges establishing baseline archaeological information, maintaining the missions, and addressing the museum collection backlog. This report contains descriptions of the park's cultural resources and summaries of cultural resource conditions.

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