Goliad – Mission Espíritu Santo Goliad State Historical Park

Map of the Espiritu Mission
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Mission Espíitu Santo Church – Reconstructed by CCC, 2930s

Goliad SHP is located on a 178-acre tract, one-quarter mile south of Goliad. It centers on Mission Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga, reconstructed on the foundations of the original 18th-century mission by the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. This site was donated to the state by the city and county of Goliad in 1931 and transferred to the State Parks Board (later Texas Parks and Wildlife) in 1949. In 1977 the mission site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Visitors experience the mission's history through interpretive exhibits in the church and adjacent granary. The park also features recreational activities including a nature trail, camping, picnicking, hiking and fishing and a city-operated swimming pool open during summer months. The park receives 72,800 visitors per year and is staffed by thirteen employees.

Mission Espíritu Santo, together with Mission Rosario and Presidio La Bahía, represent the vital core of a relatively successful 18th-century Spanish colonization effort on the northeastern border of New Spain. By training the Native American converts to work cattle, the Franciscan missionaries established cattle herds which supported the mission and led to the development of the largest early ranching enterprise in Texas. Thus, it can be said that Goliad is the birthplace of Texas ranching.

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