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Mission San Juan

At a Glance

Mission San Juan Capistrano moved to the San Antonio River from East Texas on March 5, 1731. The unfinished church was utilized as a cemetery and some of the original mission residents were buried there. Today, many of the parishioners are descendants of the original inhabitants of the mission. The Yanaguana Trail along the San Antonio River at the mission is a shaded, paved walkway among trees and vegetation that show you what the riverbank was like 300 years ago. The San Juan Acequia has been restored to use for watering the Spanish Colonial Demonstration Farm.

The Mission San Juan Church and Compound

Construction of at least three different church buildings took place at the complex between the 1750s and 1786. In 1756, the first stone church, a friary, and a granary were completed. By 1762, 203 Indians lived at the Mission. Around 1762, the building of second church began. The construction of a third larger church started in 1775 but was abandoned in 1786, when a population decline and lack of labor left the church only half complete. Building of the current church commenced around 1786 and completed between 1790-91.

Agricultural Success

In the mid-1700s, Mission San Juan was a regional supplier of agricultural produce, including corn, beans, squash, sweet potatoes and sugar cane, grown in irrigated fields outside of the mission complex. In the surrounding gardens and orchards, the residents grew melons, pumpkins, grapes and peppers. San Juan established a trade network with the French settlements in Louisiana, other Spanish missions in Texas and villages in Mexico for its surplus produce. The Mission kept approximately 3,500 sheep and the same number of cattle just 20 miles away at Rancho de Pataguilla.

After Secularization

Mission San Juan was partially secularized in 1794 and the church became a sub-parish of Mission Espada until it was completely secularized in 1824. The active parish church was established in 1909. The Archdiocese of San Antonio performed additional rehabilitation in 1967 and continued projects for several decades. Today the compound includes the church with its three-bell campanario, the compound walls, foundations of some of the original Mission Indian living quarters, the granary building, the convento, a well, and a residence built on the property during the first half of the 1800s. The Mission also has a small museum. In 2012, water was restored to the historic San Juan Acequia, and in 2013, the first crop was sown on the original labores (farmland).

Getting to San Juan

9101 Graf Rd,
San Antonio, TX 78214

A few miles downriver from Mission San José, you’ll find Mission San Juan Capistrano. By car, just follow the World Heritage Trail from Napier to Padre Road and connect with Mission Road due south for three miles. It is accessible via public transportation on the VIA VIVA Missions and even by canoe . Or stay on the San Antonio River Walk Mission Reach hike & bike trail and park your B-Cycle on mission grounds. Nearby, you’ll find the historic Espada Aqueduct, as well as the Acequia Trail.

Map of Mission San Juan Area

Follow I-35 S to San Antonio. Continue on I-35 S and take I-410 S. Take exit 42 toward TX-122 Spur/S Presa St/Southton Rd and make a right on S Presa St. Continue on S Presa St and turn left on Graf Rd to Mission San Juan.

Take I-37 N to San Antonio. Follow I-37 N and take exit 132 for TX-122 Spur. Turn left onto TX-122 Spur N and continue north. Make a left turn on Graf Rd to Mission San Juan.

Follow I-35 E and I-35 S to San Antonio. Continue on I-35 S and take I-410 S. Take exit 42 toward TX-122 Spur/S Presa St/Southton Rd and make a right on S Presa St. Continue on S Presa St and turn left on Graf Rd to Mission San Juan.

Take I-10 E to San Antonio. Follow I-10 E and use right two lanes to take exit 153 to merge onto I-10 E/US-87 S/US-90 E toward Houston. Use right two lanes to take exit 574 to merge onto I-37 S/US-281 S toward Corpus Christi. Take exit 137 for Hot Wells Blvd and turn right onto Hot Wells Blvd, followed by a left turn on S Presa St. Continue on S Presa St and turn right onto Graf Rd and continue to Mission San Juan.

Take I-45 N to I-10 W. Follow I-10 W to San Antonio. Take exit 581 for I-410 S and continue to exit 42 toward TX-122 Spur/S Presa St/Southton Rd and make a right on S Presa St. Continue on S Presa St and turn left on Graf Rd to Mission San Juan.

Take I-35 N to San Antonio. Follow I-35 N and take exit 145A to merge onto I-410 E/TX-16 S. Take exit 42 toward Southton Rd/S Presa St/TX-122 Spur. Turn left onto Southton Rd followed by another left onto S Presa St. Continue on S Presa St and turn left on Graf Rd for Mission San Juan.

Take US-281 S from E Terminal Dr and Dee Howard Way. Follow US-281 S and I-37 S to Hot Wells Blvd. Take exit 137, turn right onto Hot Wells Blvd, and then turn left onto S Presa St. Continue on S Presa St and turn right on Graf Rd to Mission San Juan.

Photo for exploring the area

Explore the Area

San Antonio is a city on the rise, with eclectic neighborhoods to explore, a buzzing food scene and vibrant nightlife – all near our historic World Heritage Site missions.

 
Photo of downtown San Antonio

Touring the City

With the new VIA VIVA public transportation routes, San Antonio River Mission Reach hike & bike trails and guided tours throughout the city, San Antonio is incredibly accessible for all kinds of adventurers.

 

Mission San Juan Events