A Historical View of the San Antonio Missions
On March 19, 1768, builders laid the first stones for the large church at Mission San José. Fourteen years later, in 1782, the completed church featured a large dome and a beautifully ornamented façade, unusual for such a remote frontier area. Because of its elegant architecture, San José came to be known as "The Queen of the Missions."

The flat surfaces of the façade featured a geometrical design painted in colors of yellow, red, blue and black. Over the years, this painted design faded away. But, in 1941, some of the design was recreated on one corner of the building to show what it looked like.

About this Image:
1) A detail of the front (west) façade of the church, demonstrating the Baroque–style stone carving that made San José the most ornate of the San Antonio mission churches. Photo taken by Ron Bauml.

2) View taken inside the sacristy/side chapel of the church at Mission San José, looking through the doorway on the chapel's east wall. A shell–shaped arch above and elaborate carved panels ornament the doors. The arcaded south wall of the cloister is visible outside.

3) This photo of Mission San José's church shows the restored cupola – a domed roof supported on a circular base. The dome collapsed in 1874 and was rebuilt in 1937. Photo taken by Brooks Martin.

4) A restored fragment of the frescoed plaster on the church's southern wall, next to the entrance to the bell tower. Photo taken by F.J. Schmidt.

To Learn More:
Courtesy of the San Antonio Conservation Society Foundation.
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2) N.d.2) N.d.
3) c. 1990, restored cupola3) c. 1990, restored cupola
4) N.d., frescoed plaster4) N.d., frescoed plaster