"Mission San Francisco de la Espada" Top 5 Page for this destination Mission Espada Tip by VeronicaG

Mission Espada, San Antonio: 10 reviews and 34 photos

  Mission San Francisco de la Espada
by VeronicaG
  • Mission San Francisco de la Espada - San Antonio
      Mission San Francisco de la Espada
    by VeronicaG
  • Moorish Door - San Antonio
      Moorish Door
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  • Altar in Sanctuary - San Antonio
      Altar in Sanctuary
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  • The Old Well on Mission grounds - San Antonio
      The Old Well on Mission grounds
    by VeronicaG
  • Brick Making Building - San Antonio
      Brick Making Building
    by VeronicaG

Mission de la Espada (means 'of the sword') is named for St. Francis of Assisi who was founder of the Franciscan order. Naming the mission as such, honors St. Francis' decision to be a soldier of God. The mission is still used by the order, as well as, being an active parish.

Originally named San Franciso de los Tejas when it was constructed in 1690, it was moved to the San Antonio river area in 1731. At that time, it was renamed Mission San Francisco de la Espada. It is the oldest of the four missions. The original church no longer exists, so the sacristy has been utilized in its place.

Espada was the sole mission producing bricks, but the converted native peoples were also taught how to weave, cut stone, repair broken equipment on the farm and introduced to metal working.

The elaborate entranceway to the church is in the Moorish style. It has been suggested that the original architect, Anthony Tello of Mexico, had to leave the mission unexpectedly and those Indians skilled in stonecutting had to complete the pattern for the doorway themselves, creating this atypical look.

The mission received James Bowie (Battle of Alamo) and James Fannin, Jr. when they arrived in October 22, 1835 accompanied by one hundred men with the intention of making this mission their headquarters during the War of Independence.

It doesn't always rain regularly in Texas, so the missions had to devise a water system. They used flow ditch systems, known as acequias for irrigation. Mission Espada's system is pretty much still in place. It was constructed in 1745 and still in use today.

Enlarged photo of the Moorish Entryway (picture 2)

Altar and Sanctuary (picture 3)

The Old Mission Well (picture 4)

The Brick Making Building (picture 5)

The missions are open daily from 9am-5pm except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. The admission is free.

Address: 10040 Espada Road, San Antonio, Tx
Phone: (210)932-1001
Website: http://www.nps.gov/saan/

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jan 10, 2008
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