Proceedings of the 1984 And 1985 San Antonio Missions Research Conferences
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Introductory Remarks
José A. Cisneros
José A. Cisneros, Superintendent, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.

I want to welcome everyone to this Fourth Annual Research Conference on the San Antonio Missions. Our appreciation to Sister Elizabeth Ann Sueltenfuss and Our Lady of the Lake University and to Monsignor Balthasar Janacek and the Old Spanish Missions Organization for their continued cooperation and support in putting this conference together. Last but not least, to Dr. Gilbert Cruz, Park Historian, who in reality is the mainstay and force behind this whole effort.

This year for the first time, we are devoting an entire day to this gathering of friends of the San Antonio Missions. Dr. Cruz has constructed an agenda which not only streamlines past efforts but which provides for a more in-depth look at the subject. This evening, we will close things up at Mission Espada with a small social.

Since my time is short and everyone is really here to listen to our panelists of scholars, let me take a couple of minutes to share with you the state of the Historical Park. We are continuing our efforts to implement our Management Plan and in the process, carry out the Congressional mandate to preserve, restore, and interpret the Spanish Missions of San Antonio.

We recently completed a rehabilitation project of the Bastion rooms at Mission Espada. You will see the results of that work this evening. At Espada also, we have stabilized the old classroom structure at the parish entrance to the mission compound. Our plan to rehabilitate the classroom is back on the drawing board because of what we found on taking down hazardous elements of the structure.

Our project to document the mission structures through the Historic American Building Survey (HABS) program is on schedule. The third and final phase of the project is due to be completed this month. A team of young architects has been diligently working on San Juan and Espada all summer. Their work and that of the first two teams will be an invaluable asset for future work and study on the missions.

Earlier this year we also completed a total rehabilitation of the old Espada Aqueduct. With the help of the San Antonio River Authority, we were able to drain the Aqueduct's channel and after a thorough cleaning, we parged the channel lining. We also repointed parts of the outside channel wall and rebuilt a section of another wall. All in all, we found the old Aqueduct in pretty good condition. The work we did will keep it going for many years to come.

Treasurer of the United States visits the San Antonio Missions in 1984. L. to r.: Gay Pirozzi, New York City; Gilbert R. Cruz, Ph.D., Park Historian; José A. Cisneros, Park Superintendent; Katherine Ortega, Treasurer of the United States; and Patricia Somers, Canyon Lake, Texas.

Management Staff, 1986: L. to R. Felix Hernandez III, Assistant Superintendent; Brenda Joan Landon, Administrative Officer; and José Cisneros, Superintendent. Photo, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.

L. to R. Donald Dayton, Deputy Regional Director NPS Southwest Region; José Cisneros, Superintendent, San Antonio Missions National Historical Parks; and Msgr. Balthasar Janacek, Director, Old Spanish Missions, Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio.

Work on the Historic Structure Report (HSR) is finally nearing completion. Some of you have received notices from our Regional office of its forthcoming availability for review. That will happen in about 2-3 months. After that, another 2-3 months will be spent in digesting your comments and finalizing the document. It will then go to the printers. I wish I could say that at the next conference it would be available but don't hold me to it.

In our review of the first draft, I can safely say that the Historic Structures Report (HSR) will be one of the major works this park will have done in documenting the history of the mission structures and at the same time the entire missionization process. We look forward to its completion.

We are also doing our bit for the Texas 1986 Sesquicentennial. Dr. Cruz has assembled a package of information which will be published before the end of the calendar year. It tells the story of the mission's role during the events since 1835 and during the period of the Texas Republic when the infant nation legislated exclusive title of the Mission religious structures to the Church.

Last but not least, we are getting ready for the Quincentennial celebrations in 1992. As the premier park in the Park Service which represents Spain's influence in this country, we are moving ahead with several projects to celebrate this status. More on that later.

These are the highlights of our accomplishments over the past year. I want to again welcome you and hope that you will return for future conferences. Thank you.

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Last Updated: 24-Apr-2011