San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

What comes to mind when you think about the United States' colonial history? Is it Captain John Smith? The thirteen colonies? Stories of England's colonies usually take center stage—but it was the Spanish who first arrived from the Old World. Their colonies were established earlier, lasted longer, and are often considered the most successful in the New World.

Today, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in Texas plays a key role in telling the story of Spanish colonialists and Native Americans of the Southwest. The park preserves the largest intact concentration of Spanish Colonial buildings in the United States today, including exquisite mission churches with their Romanesque, Moorish, and Spanish baroque designs, dating as far back as 1720. More than 1.2 million people visit San Antonio Missions National Historical Park each year.

All four mission churches—San Jose, Concepcion, San Juan, and Espada—are still active Catholic parishes and churches. They represent an unbroken connection from present day hustle and bustle of the seventh largest city in the country, to the time when San Antonio was part of the sparsely populated northern frontier of New Spain.

In addition to the churches, the park protects one of the last known surviving ranches from the mission era: Rancho de las Cabras. The iconic American cowboy traces back to ranches like this one. But farming culture has a rich history here, too: One of the site's most impressive attractions features the oldest grist mill in Texas, at Mission San Jose. Created in 1794, the grist mill was restored in 2001 and is operating again, grinding wheat on its original set of millstones.

—Felicia Carr & Suzanne Dixon, NPCA


San Antonio Missions National Historical Park


Like most of the parks of the National Park System, the national parks of Texas face serious challenges as we move toward the National Park Centennial Year of 2016.  These include the need to acquire adjoining, threatened lands, air and water pollution, under-funding and under-staffing, inappropriate use of off-road vehicles, and the challenges of Texas's location on an international border








July 15, 2015

I just visited San Antonio in May with my daughter and we went to all five missions. They are beautiful and all different.


July 9, 2015

Although I havbe been to San Antonio and the Alamo many times, I was not aware of the other missions Job well done!!


July 7, 2015

Looks great, better late than never. I've been to the Alamo twice while I was stationed at Killen Base in Killeen, TX 1966-19683


July 7, 2015

I visited the Missions and was impressed with activity still inside the last Mission with mass being held. Plus there were jewelry making and the maintaining of the Flower gardens.Hope to see the ranch sometime soon. A great national Park!


July 7, 2015

That's interesting. Actually when I think of the colonial US, I think of the missions in California and my ancestors who helped build them.


July 7, 2015

Parks are great, but a complete rewilding of everything would be better. Let the primtive rewilding spread!


July 7, 2015

All my congratulations San Antonio I love points historical


July 7, 2015

This is fabulous news! Way to go people!!


July 7, 2015

I love all the missions, in California because of the history and know if I could ever get to see the others I would love them as they are our history,


April 6, 2015

The Missions are wonderful, if you are in the area, they are a must see. Even more amazing is that some of them are active churches and from the 1700's.


February 15, 2013

good job

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