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

    San Antonio Missions

    National Historical Park Texas

Disturbed Lands

Nature and Science

The channelized San Antonio River from Espada Park

(NPS photo - Kodak DX3900)

Much of the area in and around the park can be classified as "disturbed lands", or lands that have been manipulated for various uses. For example, in the vicinity of the park, the San Antonio River was channelized to assist with flood protection in the late 1950s. Many of the currently plowed fields and old fields (succeeding to huisache tree uplands) are located where historic labores (fields) were tended during Spanish colonial times. And, areas where the historic acequias are located were at one time dry scrublands. Today, because of the presence of water, thick riparian vegetation with tall trees has replaced scrubland habitat in those areas.
 
Contractors removing old house

Contractors removing old house

Since its creation in 1978, the park has acquired many acres of property to restore the landscape and protect the cultural resources. Much of this land was occupied by modern homesteads in various stages of use and was heavily disturbed. The park has restored most of the areas acquired by removing buildings and debris. This is done to recreate the appearance of the landscape during the Spanish colonial period and for health and safety purposes.

Did You Know?

Fr. Bouchu sold one share of the San Juan Ditch Company in 1906 for $10.00.

that along two of San Antonio's Spanish acequias (irrigation ditches), the San Juan Ditch Water Corp and the Espada Ditch Comp retain water rights first granted in 1731? While the park is the major stake holder, private shareholders continue to use the water on their fields and in farm tanks.