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Mission San Juan in San Antonio, Texas
Captured with a Canon 5D Mk III and a Canon EF 24-105/4L IS
Mission San Juan Capistrano (originally christened in 1716 as La Misi�n San Jos� de los Nazonis and located in East Texas) was founded in 1731 by Spanish Catholics of the Franciscan Order, on the eastern banks of the San Antonio River in present-day Bexar County, Texas. The new settlement (part of a chain of Spanish missions) was named for a 15th-century theologian and "warrior priest" who resided in the Abruzzo region of Italy. The mission San Juan was named after Saint John of Capestrano.
The first primitive capilla (chapel) was built out of brush and mud. Eventually a campanile, or "bell tower" containing two bells was incorporated into the structure, which was replaced by a long hall with a flat roof and an attractive belfry around 1756. Around 1760 construction of a larger church building was begun on the east side of the Mission compound, but was never completed due to the lack of sufficient labor. Mission San Juan did not prosper to the same extent as the other San Antonio missions because lands allotted to it were not sufficient to plant vast quantities of crops, or breed large numbers of horses and cattle; a dam was constructed in order to supply water to the Mission's acequia, or irrigation system. (the Mission reportedly owned 1,000 head of cattle, 3,500 sheep and goats, and 100 horses in 1762).
Some 265 neophytes resided in adobe huts at the Mission in 1756; by 1790 the native Coahuiltecan people were living in stone quarters, though their number had dropped to 58. San Juan Capistrano was administered by the College of Santa Cruz de Quer�taro until March 1773, when it was placed under the care of the College of Nuestra Se�ora de Guadalupe de Zacatecas.
As part of a public works project in 1934 some of the native quarters and the foundations of the unfinished church were unearthed. The chapel, priests' quarters, and other structures were reconstructed during the 1960s. Most of the original square remains within the courtyard walls, portraying an authentic depiction of the floor plan and layout. Mission San Juan has been maintained by the National Park Service as a part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park since the 1980s.
March 19th, 2013
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