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Mission San José (Texas) facts for kids

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Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo
"Queen of the Missions"

The church of Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo

Basic information
Location San Antonio, Texas, United States
Geographic coordinates 29°21′44″N 98°28′47″W / 29.36222°N 98.47972°W / 29.36222; -98.47972Coordinates: 29°21′44″N 98°28′47″W / 29.36222°N 98.47972°W / 29.36222; -98.47972
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Architectural description
Architectural style Spanish Colonial
Groundbreaking Founded 1720; Work began in 1768
Completed 1782
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Type: Cultural
Criteria: ii
Designated: 2015 (39th session)
Reference #: 1466
State Party:  United States
Region: Europe and North America

Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo is a historic Catholic mission in San Antonio, Texas, United States. The mission was named in part for the Marquis de San Miguel de Aguayo, José de Azlor y Virto de Vera. Many buildings on the campus of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, borrow architectural elements from those found at Mission San José.

San Jose Mission, San Antonio, TX
Arched exterior of San José Mission Church

The mission was founded on February 23, 1720, because Mission San Antonio de Valero had become overcrowded shortly after its founding with refugees from the closed East Texas missions. Father Antonio Margil received permission from the governor of Coahuila and Texas, the Marquis de San Miguel de Aguayo, to build a new mission 5 miles (8 km) south of San Antonio de Valero. Like San Antonio de Valero, Mission San José served the Coahuiltecan Indians. The first buildings, made of brush, straw, and mud, were quickly replaced by large stone structures, including guest rooms, offices, a dining room, and a pantry. A heavy outer wall was built around the main part of the mission, and rooms for 350 Indians were built into the walls.

A new church, which is still standing, was constructed in 1768 from local limestone. The mission lands were given to its Indians in 1794, and mission activities officially ended in 1824. After that, the buildings were home to soldiers, the homeless, and bandits. Starting in 1933, the Civil Works Administration and then the Works Progress Administration provided the labor to rebuild and restore the grounds of the mission. Some of the funding for the restoration came from money allotted by the United States for the Texas Centennial Exposition held in Dallas in 1936. The mission walls and Indian quarters were re-built, and the granary was restored.

The church facade features from the top: a cross, representing Jesus Christ, St. Joseph (San Jose) holding the infant Jesus, St. Dominic and St. Francis, Our Lady of Guadalupe (the Virgin Mary), and St. Joachim and St. Anne holding the infant Mary.

Mission San José is now part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. In 2015, along with The Alamo and Mission Concepcion, it became one of five missions in San Antonio designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

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