Texas Adventure Week Five: Presidio La Bahia & Mission Espiritu Santo

I’ve been pretty quiet here on the blog for the last week or so. My husband has had time off so we’ve been focused on getting some things done around the house and having some family time as my two littlest both celebrated their birthdays! Needless to say, schoolwork’s been pretty light. But we have continued reading about the Spanish colonization effort and missions.

Presidio La Bahia

We also took our first “field trip” to Goliad to visit Presidio La Bahia and Mission Espiritu Santo. La Bahia is of course most famous for the events that occurred there during the Texas Revolution, which we haven’t quite gotten to yet, but since it’s less than thirty minutes from our house, it was a logical choice to visit to see in person a presidio and mission like we’ve been reading about.

We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day for our outing! The weather was absolutely gorgeous and the bluebonnets and other wildflowers are all in full bloom. We visited the presidio first, then took lunch to the state park and had a picnic. After we ate, we walked up to the mission and checked it out. Next we took a short trip over to the Fannin Memorial Monument and burial ground, and we couldn’t resist driving down to the town square to see the beautiful Goliad County Courthouse and Hanging Tree on our way out of town! On the road home we stopped by the Fannin Battle Ground.

Mission Espiritu Santo

The last time we visited was when the Dancer (now almost thirteen) was a toddler, so it’s been awhile! I learned some things I didn’t know…or had forgotten…like the fact that La Bahia is the oldest standing fort west of the Mississippi and also the only completely restored presidio in the country. The kids had a great time! They were fascinated. There was a re-enactor on site to speak to a field trip group that had come right before us and we were able to have a nice long chat with him and see all the items he had on display up close. Both the presidio and the mission had extensive artifact collections and great displays on what life living there was like.

Sections of the original wall along with the
restored walls at the mission

We purchased a DVD called Presidio La Bahia: It’s Place in the History of Texas that’s a longer version of the short video presented at the site. It was really full of great information, and the kids were super excited to see the re-enactor we spent time with playing a prominent role in the movie! It showed footage of the excavations at the Fort St. Louis site, which was also the first site of La Bahia, which was neat since even though it’s so near us, we can’t visit it because it’s on private property. The presidio was later moved to a second location in Mission Valley, only about ten minutes from us, and finally to it’s present location in Goliad.

We also discussed the various ghost stories and legends surrounding the presidio, using a book I have called Ghosts along the Texas Coast. A security guard I worked with at a bank years ago has his story in the book, which made it even more interesting to the kids.

Here are a few more photos from our day:

Captain’s Quarters at La Bahia

At the door of Our Lady of Loreto Chapel at La Bahia

What’s left of an original door at Our Lady of Loreto

An original bell at Our Lady of Loreto
At the smithy!

The chapel at Mission Espiritu Santo

A priest’s living quarters at the mission
A vat used for making beer
Fannin Monument & burial site
Wildflowers at the burial site
The “Hanging Tree”
Fannin Battleground

Some of the resources we’ve used this week:
US map
Texas map

Presidio La Bahia website
Texas Beyond History Mission Espiritu Santo page
Ghosts Along the Texas Coast

All in all a great week! Next week we’ll continue learning about the colonization of Texas, including the first Anglo-American settlers, and discuss the Mexican war for independence from Spain.

Don’t miss the first four updates in this series:

Linked with Weekly Wrap-Up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I wish we had time to visit all these sites when we were there a few weeks ago. We did make it to The Alamo! You have a lovely family and a fun blog. Thanks for sharing! Dawn Mast

  2. We lived in Texas for a few months. Loved it except for the Rattle Snakes! I loved the sky which is bigger in Texas then anywhere else!

  3. What a neat field trip! I was born in Texas (my dad was in the military for a little while) and have been back to visit once as a teenager, but I'd love to take our children to visit the Alamo and other cities like San Antonio.Hope you're having a nice weekend!

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