As I was laying in bed thinking about what to do today I decided I wanted to go on an adventure. I grabbed my laptop and went to www.roadsideamerica.com to plan a day trip. I picked four odd roadside attractions in and around San Antonio and mapped them out. Our total trip was to 72 miles round trip starting on the far south side of town. We followed the first directions exactly as they said but we could find the field with the sculptures in it. I was disappointed and about to turn around when I saw a sign for the Espada Acequia with a National Park symbol on it. The sign peaked my interest so we headed in the direction of the arrow.
Once we parked and got out of the car we saw this.
Here is the tunnel from up close. I am pretty sure that the water dripping out was not planned when they built it back in 1731.
What is it you ask? Well acording to Wiki:
The Espada Acequia, or Piedras Creek Aqueduct, was built by Franciscan friars in 1731 in what is now San Antonio, Texas, United States. It was built to supply irrigation water to the lands near Mission San Francisco de la Espada, today part of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. The acequia is still in use today and is an Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and a National Historic Landmark.
On the other side of the tunnel Lily and I scaled this incline.
And this is what it looks like at the top.
While we were up there we decided to find the missions that we read about on the plaque on the way in. I have heard about the missions before but at the point other than thinking The Alamo was part of them I didn’t really know what they were.
Our next stop was the Mission Espada.
And acording to Wiki: Mission San Francisco de la Espada (also Mission Espada) was a Roman Catholic mission established by Spain near San Antonio de Bexar in northern New Spain in 1731 to convert local Native Americans to Christianity and solidify Spanish territorial claims in the New World against encroachment from France. Today, the structure is one of four missions that comprise San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
Here is an outside view of the church.
And here is the inside.
The prayer candles are just to the left of the alter.
And here it the view looking back toward the door.
There were partial buildings all around.
Our next stop was just down the road at Mission San Juan.
Acording to Wiki: Mission San Juan Capistrano (originally christened in 1716 as La Misión San José de los Nazonis and located in East Texas) was founded in 1731 by Spanish Catholics of the Franciscan Order, on the eastern banks of the San Antonio River in present-day Bexar County, Texas. The new settlement (part of a chain of Spanish missions) was named for a 15th-century theologian and “warrior priest” who resided in the Abruzzo region of Italy. The mission San Juan was named after Saint John of Capestrano.
And here is the church.
The interior of this one was a little bit bigger.
GOD IS WATCHING YOU!
I hope he is also watching this scary statue!
There were more buildings to be explored but Lily and I headed to the air conditioned car instead.
Our next stop was Mission San Jose.
According to Wiki:
Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo is a historic Catholic mission in San Antonio, Texas, USA. The mission was named in part for the Marquis de San Miguel de Aguayo, José de Azlor y Virto de Vera. Many buildings on the campus of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, borrow architectural elements from those found at Mission San José.
The mission was founded on February 23, 1720, because Mission San Antonio de Valero had become overcrowded shortly after its founding with refugees from the closed East Texas missions. Father Antonio Margil received permission from the governor of Coahuila and Texas, the Marquis de San Miguel de Aguayo, to build a new mission 5 miles (8 km) south of San Antonio de Valero. Like San Antonio de Valero, Mission San José served the Coahuiltecan Indians. The first buildings, made of brush, straw, and mud, were quickly replaced by large stone structures, including guest rooms, offices, a dining room, and a pantry. A heavy outer wall was built around the main part of the mission, and rooms for 350 Indians were built into the walls.
A new church, which is still standing, was constructed in 1768 from local limestone. The mission lands were given to its Indians in 1794, and mission activities officially ended in 1824. After that, the buildings were home to soldiers, the homeless, and bandits. It was restored in the 1930s and is now part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
We walked around but we couldn’t get into the church because it is closed for renovation. They say it will reopen in August.
Here is the archway that we came in at. Check out the holes above where they use to have guns.
Right outside the mission was a big patch of cactus.
Ever had a prickly pear? Whatever you do DON’T GRAB IT WITH YOUR BARE HANDS! I made that mistake exactly ONCE!
Our next and last stop was Mission Concepcion.
According to Wiki: Mission Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña (also Mission Concepcion) was established in 1716 as Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de los Hainais in East Texas. The mission was moved in 1731 to San Antonio. Founded by Franciscan friars, this is the best preserved of the Texas missions.
The Battle of Concepción was fought here on October 28, 1835 between Mexican troops under Colonel Domingo Ugartechea and Texian insurgents led by James Bowie and James Fannin. The 30-minute engagement, is described as “the first major engagement of the Texas Revolution” by historian J.R. Edmondson.
Located at 807 Mission Road, Concepcion was designated a National Historic Landmark on April 15, 1970 and is part of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Restoration of the mission’s interior was completed in March 2010 after six months of work. Regular church services are still held every Sunday.
Here is the front of the church.
There is a sign hanging on the front door saying to go around the side of the church to get in. Here is the side view of the church.
Right when we walked in we were greeted by this staircase that we were not allowed to climb.
This was our favorite of all of the churches. So big and beautiful!
PLEASE Do Not Write On The Wall (God is probably watching you anyways).
Lily sat in this chair and said “Do I look like Queen Elizabeth”?
I would happily go to the missions again sometime but NOT in the warm months. If anyone wants to go in January of February I am all for it!