A Historical View of the San Antonio Missions
William Corner's famous San Antonio de Bexar: A Guide and History, written in 1890, is filled with praise for the mission's mixture of "curious, incongruous and picturesque detail." This is in complete contrast with a description of decay, filth, deterioration and desecration written by John R. Bartlett. As U.S. Commissioner and Surveyor of the new boundary between the U.S. and Mexico, Bartlett visited San Antonio in 1850 and found the abandoned mission church being used as a cattle barn!

In 1855, just five years after Bartlett's visit, the Catholic bishop gave the use of the mission to the Society of the Brothers of Mary who had founded St. Mary's School (now St. Mary's University) in San Antonio. The Brothers restored the church. On May 28, 1861, it was once more blessed and opened as a place of worship. In 1911, the Brothers returned ownership to the Bishop of San Antonio. The church itself is still maintained by the Catholic Church.

About this Image:
1) A Franciscan friar walks across the courtyard behind the east wall of the convento (left) and the south facade of the church (center) at Mission Concepción.

2) This earlier view of the courtyard, looks virtually the same, except for the chimney on top of the convento roof and the furniture out in the yard. Photo taken by Preston L. Anderson.

3) This view from the far southern end of the convento, shows the barrel vaulted roof above the end wall of the library and the metal roof capping the original cells, or sleeping quarters for the priests. Photo taken by Arthur. W. Stewart, HABS, Library of Congress.

To Learn More:
Courtesy of the San Antonio Conservation Society Foundation.
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c. 1919c. 1919
3) 19122) 1912
2) c. 19363) c. 1936