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[photo] [photo] Mission San Juan Capistrano
Top photo from Historic American Buildings Survey
Bottom photo from National Park Service
During the 18th century, the Spanish established a chain of missions along the San Antonio River. These missions became the foundation for the city of San Antonio. The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, administered by the National Park Service, incorporates four 18th-century missions and their acequias, or irrigation systems. The Mission Trail extends eight miles and connects these historic places. The goal of the missions was to spread the Catholic faith among the native inhabitants and to serve as a buffer against expansion by foreign invaders. The missions were primarily religious centers where the Coahuiltecan Indian population was instructed in the Catholic religion and taught European beliefs.

Mission San Juan Capistrano was established in 1731 and underwent several building periods. The complex has the traditional plan of buildings and walls surrounding a central courtyard and includes the ruins of the second church (1756 to 1764) and the third church (post-1762), the foundations of some of the residential quarters, a convento (missionary quarters), granary foundation, well, and a residence (c.1824). San Juan, a self-sufficient community established on rich farmland along the banks of the San Antonio River, supplied produce throughout the region.

Mission San Juan Capistrano is located at 901 Graf Rd. south of Military Dr. near the junction of Mission and Villamain rds., in San Antonio administered by San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. The Visitor Center is open 9:00am to 5:00pm daily, closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Call 210-534-0749 or 210-932-1001 for further information. Maps for the Mission Trail are available at the San Antonio Visitor Center, 317 Alamo Park. Mission San Juan Capistrano has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.

Mission San Juan Capistrano, within San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, is the subject of an online-lesson plan produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a National Register program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on properties listed in the National Register. To learn more, visit the Teaching with Historic Places home page. Other travel itineraries in the National Park Service's ongoing series include many historic destinations that you can visit online or in person. Each Discover Our Shared Heritage itinerary spotlights a different geographic region, community, or theme.


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