Mission San Jose, San Antonio

4.5 out of 5 stars 9 Reviews

Roosevelt Avenue (210)932-1001

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  • Indian Apartments
    Indian Apartments
    by msbrandysue
  • The Visitors Center
    The Visitors Center
    by msbrandysue
  • Mission San Jose
    by msbrandysue
  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo

    Mission labores

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated May 21, 2006

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    Indian quarters - San Jose
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    The farms - or "labores" - worked by the Indian converts at the missions were vital to their survival. Each mission had large populations of Indians living both within the mission area and at out-lying ranches and farms. As well as agricultural and pastoral skills, the Indians were taught skills such as black-smithing, weaving, stone masonry, carpentry and fresco painting - all essential to the construction and maintainance of the fabric of the mission buildings. They were also taught to sing and to play European musical instruments - even to dance Spanish dances. All this is evidenced today in the culture of the region - Texas ranching practice owes as much to old Spain as does the music and craftsmanship of the region.

    The secularization of the Missions began in 1794, a process which saw the Mission lands being redistributed between families and unmarried adults, it also saw the end of communal living within the Mission compounds with the consequent falling into ruin of the Indian quarters. Mission San Jose has the most complete reconstruction of the Indian quarters of any of the missions, but anyone keen on history will find much to interest them in the ruins and grounds that surround the other missions.

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  • KiKitC's Profile Photo

    Mission San Jose

    by KiKitC Updated Jan 31, 2009

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    Mission San Jose
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    Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo, named for Saint Joseph and the Marques de San Miguel de Aguayo, was founded in 1720. Much of this restored structure was a project of the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s.

    Mission San Jose, founded by Father Antonio Margil de Jesús, was the largest of the San Antonio area missions, and housed around 350 Indians. Being a major social and cultural center it became known as the "Queen of the Missions." Its inhabitants worked and lived here and completed the complex in 1782.

    Beginning as early as the 1920's, restoration projects on this mission had begun by the San Antonio Conservation Society and the Federal Government, and a majority of the restored structure was a project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1930s. In November 1978, the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park was established assuring protection of the parish.

    The church had lost its dome, bell tower, and a wall. The granary and the convento required stabilization. One of the first structures to be restored was the granary, as it was nearly on the verge of collapse.

    The protective walls with the Indian Quarters built into them were reconstructed in the 1930s during the WPA project.

    In 1941, Mission San Jose was declared a State Historic Site and also a National Historic Site. The restored mill is the oldest mill in the state of Texas. Visitors can catch a glimpse of life here, as many portions offer informative narratives. Mission San Jose is also an active parish, holding open mass on Sundays.

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  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Mission San Jose

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Mar 24, 2007

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    Mission San Jose
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    Known as the "Queen of the Missions", Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aquayo was founded in 1720 after the father at the Alamo (then called Mission San Antonio de Valero) received permission from the local Spanish governor. When the limestone church was begun in 1768, there were 350 Indians living in the 84 small apartments around the outside wall. The mission ceased to operate in 1824 after baptizing over 2,000 Indians. In later years, various catholic sects have operated from the old church...today the Franciscans maintain the religious facilities. The mission is maintained by the National Park Service and is located at the intersection of Mission Road and Roosevelt Avenue. The visitor center is off Napier Drive.

    Admission is free!

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    The Indian quarters

    by Djinn76 Written Dec 28, 2003

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    Indian quarters of Mission San Jose are one-story flat-roofed stone structures which form the perimeter of the mission compound. Door and window openings are spanned by wood lintels. All of the rooms open onto the mission plaza.

    Construction probably began on the original stone Indian quarters in 1760. By 1785, quarters existed on all four sides of the mission compound. These were only partially intact by the mid-nineteenth century and had virtually disappeared by the turn of the century. From 1933-35, the foundations were exposed and the Indian quarters reconstructed.

    Nine hornos, or baking ovens, are located in the San Jose compound. These are 1930's reconstructions.

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  • sswagner's Profile Photo

    San Antonio Missions National Historic Park

    by sswagner Updated Feb 24, 2005

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    Mission San Jose

    Please see my page on the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park for greater detail. A trip to the missions will be well worth your time, especially if you enjoy history. Mission San Jose has the main visitor center.

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  • 10eke's Profile Photo

    San Jose

    by 10eke Written Aug 25, 2002

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    The San Jose mission was founded in 1720 . About 300 people lived here. The must-see is the 'Rose Window' which is beautifully carved. According to a local legend, the artist carved it for his Spanish bride-to-be, who perished at sea on her way her fiancee.

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  • msbrandysue's Profile Photo

    Mission #2 on the Trail

    by msbrandysue Updated Apr 4, 2011
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    Mission San Jose was my second stop on the trail. This is by far the biggest of all the missions, probably why it's known as the "Queen of the Missions." Here you'll also find the National Parks Visitors Center. Inside they have an historical video called "Gente de Razon" (People of Reason) on the people, area and the missions that runs a few times a day. It's shown on the hour and half-hour beginning at 9:30 am, with the last show at 4:30 pm. In the same area they have a small museum with artifacts from the 1700-1800s. And they have a bigger gift shop with shirts, childrens items and books with a lot of area history.

    San Jose was founded in 1720 but not completed until 1782. The structures, that include a church, mill and Indian apartments were almost fully restored to their original design in the 1930s. The ceilings are so low and the sleeping areas/apartments are so small! But, it's such a great experience to see how those lived back 200 years ago.

    There's a big misconception that that the missions were simply churches but they were actual communities. San Jose is definitely the best demonstration of the community life-style. The community here was very successful because of their abundance of livestock and furtile land. Being so successful made them a large target, though to Apache and Commanche attacks. The hostile Native Americans resisted the Spanish change and influence. The 350 residents of the mission, though, had a great water system dug by the Indians from the river. This helped for their survival, as well as their acceptance of guns brought by the Spanish.

    The mill is a large area that you can tour, as well. There are displays of the types of foods that were grown here, which really help children explore the past too.

    Another popular attraction is La Ventana de Rosa or the Rose Window. A part of the legend says that this beautiful window was created by a woman named Rose. The tour guides have a few renditions of the legend as well, if you stay with them.

    **Caution: During the summer it gets VERY hot and there can be different hazards with the heat. There is not sufficient shade here, so bring water, hat, sunglasses, etc. I decided to not follow the tour provided by the Park Rangers because of the heat, as well, as it was about 45 minutes long.

    The park is open 9am-5pm and is FREE admission (even for the movie).

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  • larsy's Profile Photo

    "Dancing in front of Jesus"

    by larsy Written Jun 18, 2006

    We went to mission San Jose for our anniversary to attend the Mariachi mass. It was a lovely service and at the end the priest called up all the brithdays and anniversaries. The mariachi music started up and the preist told us to start waltzing. It was quite fun even though it took me a while to get over dancing in fromt of 200 strangers. I suggest and anniversary couples should go to the mass.

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  • annk's Profile Photo

    San Antonio Mission NHP - Mission San Jose

    by annk Updated Feb 18, 2005

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    convent - Mission San Jose

    Shown are remnants of the 2 story convent which was completed in 1770. The upper floor housed missionaries while the lower floor contained storerooms. Today only the arches remain.

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