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

    San Antonio Missions

    National Historical Park Texas

Mission Espada

Mission Espada

Mission Espada

Mission San Francisco de la Espada

Founded in 1690 as San Francisco de los Tejas near present-day Weches, Texas, this was the first mission in Texas. In 1731, the mission transferred to the San Antonio River area and renamed Mission San Francisco de la Espada. A friary was built in 1745, and the church was completed in 1756.

Following government policy, Franciscan missionaries sought to make life within mission communities closely resemble that of Spanish villages and Spanish culture. In order to become Spanish citizens and productive inhabitants, Native Americans learned vocational skills. As plows, farm implements, and gear for horses, oxen, and mules fell into disrepair, blacksmithing skills soon became indispensable. Weaving skills were needed to help clothe the inhabitants. As buildings became more elaborate, mission occupants learned masonry and carpentry skills under the direction of craftsmen contracted by the missionaries.

After secularization, these vocational skills proved beneficial to post-colonial growth of San Antonio. The legacy of these Native American artisans is still evident throughout the city of San Antonio today.

 
Click here for more information about Mission Espada. It is located at 10040 Espada Road, San Antonio, Texas, 78214.

Did You Know?

The Yanaguana Trail at Mission San Juan

The Yanaguana Trail at Mission San Juan takes visitors to a small section of the San Antonio River that has not been channelized over the years. The trail is 1/3 of a mile in length and is accessible.