Thursday, May 15, 2014

Historic San Antonio

We spent our final day in San Antonio being heritage tourists, first along the San Antonio Mission Trail and then in the King William Historic District which showcases the city’s most opulent 19th century  homes.

The four missions, along with the Alamo, represent the city’s early 18th century Franciscan origins. They are managed jointly by the National Park Service and, I believe, the Archdiocese of San Antonio. Mission Concepcion was, perhaps, the most fascinating, as it is 90% intact. The California missions, those with which we are most familiar, have almost all been rebuilt. This one features the original structures.

Mission San Jose was more a reconstruction, but gives the the visitor a (somewhat whitewashed) sense of mission life.

We passed on Mission San Juan, because of time and at the suggestion of the Lonely Planet guidebook we are using, but continued on to Mission Espada, mostly ruins.

Throughout I had great photographic fun. I hope you like the images.

18th century Mission Concepcion church

It was amazing to be able to see the original interior decorations

The second, San Jose, offered reconstruction of the mission environment

Even more, the original exterior decorations. Though faded, one can imagine the exterior church in this design

The third mission, Espada, is largely in ruins, though this church is closed while undergoing renovations

  From there it was to the 19th century “Sharon’s century,” and in the King William district we took a self guided tour of Edward Steves House Museum and then wandered through the rest of the district. My interest in more in commercial and public architecture, but Sharon revels in the domestic.

The Steves House (1877) in the King William District
An interior shot. I could not help but compare this with San Francisco's Haas-Lilienthal House where I worked briefly in the 1980s. In some ways San Antonio gives the sense of being more a frontier town than San Francisco was.

Note the lovely brickwork
Our next stop, the Gulf town of Corpus Christi

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