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[photo] Espada Aqueduct
Photos from the National Historic Landmarks Collection, courtesy of J. Oliver

The missions' need for irrigation for the crops necessitated an elaborate system of acequias, or irrigation ditches, to channel water. The Spanish constructed seven acequias, five dams, and an aqueduct, using American Indian workers. This system extended 15 miles and irrigated 3,500 acres of land. The Espada Aqueduct was constructed in 1745 by Franciscans to serve the mission lands of Espada. It is the only remaining Spanish aqueduct in the United States.

The Espada Aqueduct, a National Historic Landmark, is located on Espada Rd., east of US 281, near Mission de la Espada in San Antonio. The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park Visitor Center is open 9:00am to 5:00pm daily, closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Call 210-627-2021 or 210-932-1001 for further information. Maps for the Mission Trail are available at the San Antonio Visitor Center, 317 Alamo Park. Espada Acequia has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.

Espada Aqueduct, 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.



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