Courtesy of The State Department of Highway and Public Transportation
Welcome to the Missions portion of the Mysteries of the Caminos Reales Web Site. The Missions played a great role in Texas History. They also played a great role in the history of the Caminos Reales area. The most well known mission here in Texas is probably the Alamo, Mission San Antonio de Valero. Other missions in San Antonio include: Concepción, San José and San Juan.
For more information on the missions along the Caminos Reales Go to Spanish Missionary Fray Pedro Ramirez.
Concepción is one of the few missions around today that has barely been restored. It is the oldest unrestored church in America. It has never collapsed, probably because it was built on bedrock.
A team of Italian artisans were brought in to restore the pictures frescoed on the library wall and ceiling that were hidden under plaster and whitewash. One picture was thought to be the eye of god, but this picture, after restoration, reveals otherwise.
San José started out as a group of mud and brush huts with straw roofs. It was located on the east banks of the San Antonio river. Seven years later, the mission was moved across the river to where it is now located.
San Jose had its own mill for grinding up meal. It was supplied with water from the Asequia Madre. Water was poured onto the turbine, making the grindstone above turn and grind the meal. This mill was the first mill to be built in Texas. It is also one of the simplest designs ever made for a mill.
San Juan was a major trading stop along the Camonos Reales. San Juan was a clearing house for many supplies and was frequented by many travelers who traveled the road. Trading was a big thing for the mission. It was encouraged between the settlers in the area and the mission to help strengthen the economy of the region. San Juan's central plaza was where all the trading took place. There you could find an assortment of fruits and vegetables that were grown right there on the mission, on the labores, or farms. There were two fields that were used to grow crops. Some of the crops were: melons, pumpkins, grapes, peaches, figs, apricots , cloves, plums, peppers, and garlic. The two fields were supplied with water from the acequia, or irrigation ditches. The labores were located just across from what is now the parking lots.
Did you know that Fransiscan Friars took a vow of poverty and were poor? Did you know that at first, before the indians knew Spanish, translators had to translate each service that happened in a day, and there were at least three services a day? Did you know that the famous Rose Window at San Jose was carved by Pedro Huizar for his lover, Rosa, who was killed on her way to be with him? Did you know that the winding staircase leading to the bell tower at San Jose was built without any nails?
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