Photo by Gertrude Meyer, Edited by Pat Tyler
Here is the story, as told by the sign: The missions of San Antonio were far more than just churches, they were communities. Each was a fortified village, with its own church, farm and ranch. Here, Franciscan Friars gathered native peoples, converted them to Catholicism, taught them to live as Spaniards, and helped maintain Spanish control over the Texas frontier.
The Franciscans established six missions along the San Antonio River in the early 1700s. Five of them flourished and, with the Villa de San Fernando, became the foundation of the city of San Antonio. Today the missions are elegant reminders of the contribution of Indian and Hispanic peoples to the history of the United States.
The National Park Service maintains and preserves the mission sites through cooperative agreements with the Archdiocese of San Antonio and the state of Texas. The mission churches remain active centers of worship.