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"Small and simple" San Juan de Capistrano Mission Tip by TheWanderingCamel

  Exterior ...
by TheWanderingCamel
  • Exterior ... - San Antonio
      Exterior ...
    by TheWanderingCamel
  • ...and interior - San Antonio
      ...and interior
    by TheWanderingCamel

The smallest and simplest of all San Antonio's Mission churches, San Juan de Capistrano is the third in the chain moving south of the city. Originally sited in eastern Texas, Mission San Juan was transferred in to its present position in1731 and by 1756 the church, housing for the friars and a granary were already in place. As was usual at the missions, the Indian inhabitants worked at producing the fruit and vegetables needed to sustain the Mission, the settlers who were moving into the region and the troops garrisoned there. Irrigation enabled the production of more crops in the fields outside the mission compound and, some 20 miles further afield, the mission maintained a ranch where both sheep and cattle were raised. As well as all this agricultural activity, workshops at the mission produced iron tools, wove cloth, and tanned hides. The mission was a self-sufficient and viable concern for many years, even developing a successful trading network for their surpus production but a later decline in the population saw plans for a larger church abandoned - the unfinished building can still be seen.

The Mission made good use of the waters of the San Antonio River. The San Juan Acequia, which is still functioning and was recently restored, holds the oldest water rights in the state.

Today, the church is still used as a parish church (as are all the Mission churches here in San Antonio) whilst the restored convento building is used for visitor facilities. With its open campanile, simply decorated interior and unrestored exterior, San Juan has the quietest and most isolated feel of all the missions.

Address: 9101 Graf Road
Directions: San Juan is situated about 2 miles south of Mission San Jose, south of Military Drive . near the junction of Mission and Villamain Roads. Look out for the brown signs pointing the way.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 4, 2011
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