Scenic USA - Texas

Espíritu Santo Mission

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Espíritu Santo Mission- Goliad State Park, Texas

Photos by Jason Merlo
Jason's San Antonio Missions Gallery

   Caught in silhouette and backlit by a golden Texas sun, the Espíritu Santo Mission is one of the oldest and most successful Spanish missions in the state. Originally established on Garcitas Creek in 1722, the Nuestra Seńora del Espíritu Santo de Zúńiga Mission was relocated on the Guadalupe River site more than once until an influx of French and English settlers forced the Spanish to reinforce their hold along the San Antonio River. This became the final move of the mission and the church was initially constructed using wood and caliche.
Espiritu Santo Mission
   Mission life included local Natives from branches of Karankawa Indians and proved to be a difficult conversion to Christian teachings. A nomadic and primitive tribe, members also found it difficult to follow a European's regimented way of life. By 1758 the mission complex, nearby today's town of Goliad, was rebuilt with stone, and local Indian population at the mission grew to 300 members. Over time, local natives became well trained in farming and ranching, supporting many Spanish missions across the southwest. The Espiritu Santo Mission is considered the first large scale cattle operation in Texas, holding as many as 40,000 head of cattle and horses.
   Restoration of the mission began with Texas Civilian Conservation Corps efforts in 1931. Restoration was guided by the National Park Service and the University of Texas. Today, the restored mission is the centerpiece of the Goliad State Park and Historic Site, with the mission and museum open daily for visitation.

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