In 1789, the Spanish military established a presidio (military garrison), which they called “San Elceario”, after the Catholic patron saint of the military. They built a chapel inside the presidio. Some forty years later, the Rio Grande flood of 1829 rendered this chapel useless and another building was erected to serve the people. This building, which eventually became too small, was used until 1877 when the present church was built. The chapels built in San Elizario were for the military and their families; therefore, they were known as presidio chapels not missions. Missions were built for the purpose of Christianizing the native population.
San Elizario Presidio Chapel