A Historical View of the San Antonio Missions
San José Mission was partially secularized in 1794. After the final secularization in 1824, the indigenous families gradually moved away and the mission church and the rest of the compound went into general decline. People carried off the stones from the compound walls and the indigenous housing in order to make other buildings.

The vaulted roof of the granary and the roof of the convento collapsed. A part of the church's north wall fell down. The large dome and the roof over the main church collapsed on December 25, 1874, while midnight Christmas services were being held in the sacristy adjoining it! Thieves stole the front doors of the church. The spiral staircase to the bell tower later collapsed, lying scattered on the ground for years. In 1928, the bell tower crumbled and fell. All of these structures were gradually rebuilt.

About this Image:
1) Two men pose outside the ruined church of Mission San José, which stands open to the elements. The fence constructed across the front may have been intended to keep animals out.

2) A bicycling couple stops to rest in front of the Mission San José granary. Vegetation, including cacti, is growing on top of the roofless upper walls. The mission church is visible on the far right.

3) A friar looks through the door from the sacristy/side chapel towards the main entrance of the ruined church. Remaining debris from the collapsed church roof lines one wall.

4) Looking down into the ruins of the roofless church, facing west. Note the way the main entryway is braced and the pile of rubble next to the remains of the north wall. Despite this destruction, the bell tower remained intact until 1928.

To Learn More:
Courtesy of the San Antonio Conservation Society Foundation.
Click to Enlarge
2) c. 19002) c. 1900
3) c. 19213) c. 1921
4) N.d.4) N.d.