The Mission Rosario State Historic Site is situated west of downtown San Antonio. The area includes ranches, farms, and the ruins of Mission Rosario. Currently, the mission is undergoing archeological research. The site is open to the public by appointment only. You can visit the ruins of the mission by making an appointment.
The mission was established 265 years ago and stood on a hill overlooking the San Antonio River. A stone foundation still marks its outline on the hillside. Although visitors are not allowed to walk around the remains, they can view them from behind a chain-link fence. There are also interpretive panels that tell the history of the mission. It was a Spanish mission that operated for 54 years and was vital to the beginning of Texas cattle ranching.
After World War II, the site was donated to the state by William O’Connor. The park was later transferred to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. In the 1970s, the Civilian Conservation Corps was enlisted to do archeological work. The organization also built an auditorium and a stadium.
Besides the Mission Rosario State Historic Site, the area has other great historical sites. The Goliad State Park includes a reconstructed Spanish Colonial Era Mission. It also contains the Zaragoza Birthplace State Historic Site. Visitors can also go camping, fishing, swimming, and nature study. The Goliad Paddling Trail is another great activity to enjoy.
There have been several excavations in the region. The first organized excavations were done in 1933 by A. T. Jackson, under the direction of James E. Pearce, chairman of the University of Texas Department of Anthropology. The excavations involved digging through a large trash heap. Another archaeological dig took place in 1972. It uncovered evidence of four building phases. In addition, it recorded many grave outlines.
The Spanish began colonizing the area after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. This was a practical and political move because the missions provided a source of native labor and a way to deter the French from settling in Louisiana. Founded by Franciscan priests, the Mission Nuestra Senora de la Bahia del Espiritu Santo de Zuniga was built in 1722 and moved three times before it is present day.
This site is also home to the last resting place of the victims of the Dawson Massacre in 1842 and the Black Bean Death Lottery in 1843. These tragic events happened during the fight for Texas independence. The remains of the men were buried here during a public funeral on March 2, 1848. In 1849, Heinrich Kreische came to Texas and built his family home and brewery. He was a community leader and maintained the monument to honor their memory.