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  • Spanish Governor's PalaceSpanish Governor's Palace San Antonio, Texas
    The Spanish Governor's Palace in San Antonio, Texas was built in the mid18th century, and was constructed to protect the San Antonio de Valero Mission close by, which is also known as the Alamo; as well as the growing community. It believed to be the last remaining example of aristocratic early Spanish architecture in the state, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark. The National Geographic Society calls it "the most beautiful building in San Antonio". Believed to have been built as early as 1722, their is a keystone above the doors at the front entry that is marked with the coat-of-arms of the Spanish King Ferdinand VI and the date "1749". It was the residence and work offices of the local presidio captain and would later become the capitol building of the Tejas region of Spanish Texas in 1722; presently taken care of by the city and open to the public as a museum. Why it is or was called the Spanish governor's palace no one seems to know, but they do know that it isn't or wasn't. It is a one-story masonry and stucco structure built in the Spanish colonial style of architecture with 10 rooms, a grand courtyard and fountain that is said to be haunted. It is located between Market Square and the San Antonio River Walk, by the city hall.  The Presidio de San Antonio de Bejar was constructed because of the rivalry between France and Spain in the beginning of the 18th century for dominance of the territory that would become part of the southwest United States, and was ordered to be built by King Philip V of Spain. Don Martin de Alarcon and 50 soldiers came here to build the mission and presidio as a result of that order, between the San Pedro and San Antonio Rivers. When they got there, they would find an Indian village at the head of the San Antonio River and San Pedro Springs, but he built the Mission San Antonio de Valero anyway that year. In 1722, the Marquis de San Miguel de Aguayo, Governor of Tejas and Coahuila, then moved the presidio there and the marquis thought that a big square with pointed bastions at each corner would eventually be constructed also. In a letter from the marquis to the monarch, dated June 13, 1722, he would need 40 more laborers and 25,000 adobe bricks to finish the compound. The keystone above the door is marked with the king's coat-of-arms and the inscription "ano 1749 se acabo" gave the impression that the presidio was finished, but much smaller than the marquis imagined. The building, usually known as the Spanish Governor's Palace, was the commandancia or residence and working office for the captain of the presidio. When the French threat abated, King Carlos III appointed Marquis de Rubi inspector of the frontier presidios and this inspection resulted in the Royal Regulations of 1772, ordering the capital of the Spanish Texas move fro the Presidio at Los Adaes, east of Nacogdoches, Texas to the presidio at San Antonio, and that the captain become the governor of Texas. When Spain lost control of Mexico and Texas in 1821, the presidio was no longer a military outpost, but the owner and former captain, Ignacio Perez and his descendants would stay and use the building as their residence until the mid 1800s. The function of it then changed to commercial uses in the mid 1870s and until the 1920s was used for many different businesses that included a wholesale produce store, saloons, pawn shop and clothing store. In 1928, the city bought it and finished the renovations in 1929 and 1930. 

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  • Mission San JoseMission San Jose San Antonio, Texas
    The Mision San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo was begun in 1720 and designated the San Jose Mission National Historic Site in 1941, in San Antonio, Texas. This mission is called the "Queen of the Missions" and is the biggest of the missions, and has been almost completely restorated to its original condition, during the 1930s, by the WPA. Spanish missions weren't churches, but rather communities that focused on the church; with this mission letting visitors of today see what they would have looked like more than 250 years ago. The visitor center is next door to the mission and has all the information needed to get a better understanding of this marvelous old mission. Started in 1720, by Friar Antonio Margil de Jesus, the mission would become the biggest of the five Texas missions built and after some early setbacks, 300 residents would be able to live off the huge fields and herds of livestock that encompassed the mission. One person that visited the mission in 1777, called it the "Queen of the Missions", and its carvings are considered it most noteworthy features. The famous Rose Window is believed to be one of the most exceptional relics of Spanish colonial ornamentation in the nation with other features like the convento area and the stairs to the bellfry and choir loft being made of hand hewn oak, all of the 25 risers coming from a single log and built without nails or pegs. There is a gristmill, flying buttresses, granary, defensive walls that have been restored and quarters.

January 11, 2011