When people think of San Antonio, they think of the Alamo. It may be the most well known, but it isn’t the only mission in the city. There are 4 other missions, all part of the National Park System, located not too far from the Alamo. The kids and I made a trip out to see them last week. My son had been to them already, so he played tour guide. He also helped his sister get her Junior Ranger badge (her first!), since he already had his. All the missions are still practicing parishes and are open to the public unless there is a wedding or funeral.
Mission San Jose is the largest of the missions and was established in 1720. It provided housing and a community for over 300 Indians. It had wells, a mill, and was surrounded by farmland. It was restored in the 1930’s and again a few years ago. The visitor’s center is here, so this is a good place to start.
Mission Espada is the southern most mission, also established in 1731. It contains an aqueduct and dam and also had a blacksmith shop and workrooms with looms and spinning wheels. A fire destroyed most of it in 1826. The mission also had a ranch, about 30 miles south. It is now also part of the park service.