San Antonio is my former home, and still in many ways my photographic home. The history of the place always captured my interest. I've spent days at a time tramping around the old San Antonio Missions, toting the large-format camera and averaging two or three images per day. Getting those images on the web is a future project. For now, though, these digital images reflect a more recent swing through Texas.
The San Antonio Missions were established between 1720 and 1731, during the Spanish colonization of Texas. The first mission, San Antonio de Bexar (famous as the Alamo), is not so easy to photograph, but the other four missions are maintained as a National Historical Park and access is relatively easy. Even in the last ten years, though, many changes have taken place to accommodate visitors. Rough-hewn stone floors have been replaced in some cases with bricks, and a new Visitor Center at Mission San Jose moved traffic even further away. Much of what we see at the missions is a reconstruction. For example, San Jose's perimeter wall, which served as housing, is a reconstruction from Depression-era work programs. The tower of the San Jose chapel collapsed in 1891, and was rebuilt according to photographs that had been made (fortunately) using the same stones. The dome of Mission Concepcion has been rebuilt in the last ten years, but I'm happy to report that the hordes of fire ants that populate the field in front of that mission are still in residence. The missions were built and expanded and then abandoned and allowed to fall into ruin, only to be saved by committed conservators from destruction. There is a reason the San Antonio Conservation Society is among the most well-known of its kind.
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