RESURRECTION IN STONE
Mission Espiritu Santo, or Nuestra Senora del Espiritu Santo de Zuñiga Mission (should you wish to use its full name), was considered one of the most successful missions in Texas. But measuring the success of Spain’s efforts to colonize the New World through its missions program requires a relatively generous rule of thumb; did it manage to convert local Native American populations to Christianity and conscript them into Spanish society (and servitude) as it was designed to do? No. Has the Spanish religious mission doctrine survived into the modern age? Absolutely.
Mission Espiritu Santo, also subject to collapse and resurrection, appears to have followed a similar track. The original stone and mortar structure, established along the San Antonio River (its third location) in 1749, did not survive. But its spirit certainly did. Today, heritage travelers tour a mission building reconstructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps courtesy of Roosevelt’s New Deal. In 1931, the mission site received a historical park designation and resurrection of the building itself began using locally quarried stone. The original, subject of abandonment and recycled as building materials elsewhere, had disappeared by the early 1800s. The reconstruction, a Spanish mission design interpreted by National Park Service architects, also provided an opportunity for archeologists to excavate the site, resulting in the superb selection of artifacts from the original mission structure now on display. Today’s Mission Espiritu Santo may not be quite the real thing but its reconstruction deserves appreciation in its own right, a fact validated when the mission received a listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
Watch the video below to learn more about Spanish Settlement of Texas. This video was produced for inclusion in the Hispanic Texans mobile tour, more information about which may be found on our Hispanic heritage page at the following link: http://texastimetravel.com/travel-themes/main-hispanic-heritage
Goliad State Park/ Mission Espiritu Santo de Zuñiga Historic Site
Adults: $3, Children (Ages 12 and younger): Free
Open 7 days a week year-round except for Christmas Day, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.