Ysleta Mission131 South Zaragosa Road
El Paso, TX 79907
A FRANCISCAN MISSION
The Spanish Colonial mission, known formally as La Misión de Corpus Christi de la Ysleta del Sur, has been serving the region’s Catholics since its establishment in 1680. The original church is thought to have been built of mud chinked logs and willow reeds. By 1682, the Spanish reconstructed the mission walls of more permanent adobe courtesy of Tigua Indian labor.
The mission site, located in the Rio Grande floodplain, was frequently inundated with water during flood season. The river occasionally changed its course during this time, often damaging the mission adobe structure. The mission walls were rebuilt each time. By 1831 however, the Rio Grande, once flowing north of the mission by a mile, had cut a completely new channel a mile south of the mission. In 1848, the U.S. and Mexico agreed to designate this channel as the official international border, thus transferring the mission’s homeland from Mexico to the U.S. In the late 1850s, the mission building was slightly elevated in order to mitigate the problem of periodic flooding.
In 1907, a fire damaged the mission building, burning the roof’s vigas (wooden beams) and causing the 1897 bell tower and the façade to collapse. Once rebuilt, the mission received new bells for its tower. One of the original bells survives on the Mission Plaza. Today, the mission continues its service with modern touches including a website and its own Facebook page. Its annual Ysleta Mission Festival, held on the second weekend in July, features live music, traditional dances, authentic Southwest cuisine, and carnival rides.
Watch the videos below to learn more about Spanish Settlement of Texas and the Los Caminos Reales. These videos were 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