• The churches of San Antonio were the heart of the Spanish colonal mission communities.

    San Antonio Missions

    National Historical Park Texas

Mission Community

Drawing of Mission Espada's compound

Drawing of Mission Espada's compound as it may have looked in the 1780s, with modern buildings shown as gray shadows.

Several gateways provided entrance into the compounds of the walled communities. Bastions, or fortified towers, were located along the walls to provide defense. Living quarters were built inside, against the compound walls, for the Indian neophytes and Spanish soldiers, usually only one or two with their families. The Church was the focal point of the missions; the missionary lived in the convento. Workshops and storerooms dotted the grounds. Outside the walls were the croplands and ranches, and the danger of the Apache and Comanche.

 

Did You Know?

Mission San José grist mill grinds wheat and not corn.

San José's grist mill in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park never ground corn, only wheat? The mill was built late in the mission period; by then the mission Indians had acquired a taste for wheat-based foods. Today the mill is mostly a reproduction, and is in operation five days a week.