When one approaches the Spanish Governor’s Mansion, maintained by the City of San Antonio as a national historic site, the “greeter” is a conquistador.
He is not any one conquistador in particular, but symbolizes the spirit of the Spanish fighting explorer of the 16th-17th Centuries.
Despite its name, the palace housed successive Spanish military commanders of Tejas, until the Mexican people achieved independence from Spain in 1821. The last commander, Ignacio Perez, was allowed to remain in the palace. His family sold it to Tejano merchants, upon his death, and it served a variety of purposes until the City of San Antonio purchased the property in 1928. It has since been restored to its original design, so as to better help tell the story of San Antonio’s rich Spanish heritage.
I will let the photos tell much of that story as well.
Here is the entrance, on the east side of the building.
This was the Captain’s front sitting room.
Like most Spanish gentlemen of the time, captains took solace from their exquisite gardens. That makes them a lot like us.
I’m not sure what these are, but I love the two-tone hues of the leaves.
The trees seem to be talking things over.
After an hour of checking out this most stately of downtown buildings, I headed south, out of the city proper, to look at two of the four outer missions that are part of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. They are among the most enduring structures in the State of Texas, and certainly compare favourably with what I have seen in Arizona, New Mexico and California. Most striking, as you will see, are the solidity of the walls. These outer missions were places for Indians who were studying Catholicism to live, as was the Alamo, originally.
I first stopped at Mission de La Concepcion, 2.5 miles south of downtown.
This is the east wall.
This is the east entrance, which visitors use when the mission is open (9-5). I got here at 5:10 P.M., but the exterior was impressive enough to me.
Below is the northeast courtyard. It looks like a fine place to hide.
The spires have weathered nearly four hundred years of Texas heat and humidity.
Around, to the northwest, lies a more approachable door, now left locked to visitors.
Walking around to the north side, the mission’s magnificent cupola comes into view. Below are a section of the original west gate and a western view of the mission as a whole.
Lastly, La Concepcion offers visitors a serene shrine for prayer and meditation, in its northwest garden.
I had time for one more investigation of a mission, before darkness would spur me southward. The last stop on this visit to San Antonio was Mission San Jose. This is 3 miles further and is a bit larger than La Concepcion.
Here are some views of the east and south walls.
The gardens are not neglected here, either, and are, in fact, the first thing one sees, upon parking.
The garden walls on the north and east segments are a bit lower than those of the mission itself, suggesting the Indians may have had fields outside the mission, which they regularly accessed.
There was a vantage point from which to shoot photos of the interior, despite the high walls. This is a fairly good view of the cupola and south tower.
This is a view of the great courtyard of Mission San Jose. There are two missions off to the west of Mission San Jose, which I have left for another time. It’s another reason to make this great city a fairly regular stop on my seemingly incessant journeys. Then, there are my dear friends who make San Antonio home.
I was glad to have made San Antonio one of the centerpieces of my journey. Now, it’s off to the next fine place.
Next: Day 7, Part 1: Corpus Christi- Shore and Downtown