San Elizario, Texas
San Elizario, Texas
April 28 and 29, 2007.
We are staying with friends at the SAEM (Spanish American Evangelistic Ministries) facilities in east El Paso. Our friends, Harry & Sue, are volunteers at the mission. The mission has 6 or 8 FHU spots for volunteers.
Harry & Sue, took us to view Missions on the Mission Trail east of downtown El Paso. Our first mission was in San Elizario not far from the Rio Grand River.
San Elizario Chapel in San Elizario, Texas
This is San Elizario Chapel (CAPILLA DE SAN ELZEARIO) It is named for the 13th-Century French Patron of the Military, St. Elzear, Capilla De San Elzeario Military Garrison of presidio De San Elzeario. It was moved to this site in 1789 from its original location 37-miles to the southeast after Rio Grande Floods damaged the original Chapel. The present chapel was built with new adobe bricks and bricks from the original Presidio walls. It is a fine example of the Spanish Colonial Revival Style and is a tangible reminder of the Hispanic and Catholic heritage of this region.
Don't let that date of 1789 slip by without putting it in perspective. That is when this Chapel was constructed AFTER their other one was destroyed in a flood. Can you think of things that were going on back east with "the colonies" back in 1789?
1781--The British surrender at Yorktown marking the end of the American Revolutionary War.
1787--The United States Constitution is approved by the Constitutional Convention and ratified by the states the following year.
1792--British Captain George Vancouver, a veteran of Cook's expeditions, begins a survey of the Pacific coast.
1793--Alexander Mackenzie, a fur trader with the North West Company, becomes the first white man to cross the North American continent.
1795--The Treaty of San Lorenzo establishes the border between the United States and Spanish territories along the Mississippi and gives U.S. merchants the right to ship goods through New Orleans duty-free.
1799--Daniel Boone leaves Kentucky for "elbow
room" in the Spanish territories west of the Mississippi, settling near St.
1800--The secret Treaty of San
Ildefonso transfers the Louisiana Territory from Spain back to France, on the
condition that France
1803--Jefferson asks Congress for an appropriation to send an expedition up the
Missouri River and on to the Pacific, in order to discover whether a Northwest
Passage or water route across the continent exists and to lay the groundwork for
extending American fur trade into the region. None of this territory is part of
the United States when Jefferson makes his request in January, but even then he
is negotiating secretly through James Monroe to purchase the whole vast region
I provided this information so that you could better appreciate the historical significance of this Chapel.
Almond trees planted in honor of each family represented in the church
Church Parishioners told us about these almond trees planted by the Church, in the town square, across the street from the church. The trees were planted in honor of each family represented in the church, a living memorial if you will.
Yes, that is an almond tree and those are almond nuts. Some almond trees had fruit while others did not. One of the elderly gentlemen said something about male and female trees.
Ancient door on ancient building
This set of doors are on a building facing the church but on the opposite end of the town Square. The building directly to the left of this picture is described below and it dates from 1855. I wonder how old those doors are? If you haven't already, pay close attention to the unique construction of these doors. I particularly like the diagonal cross members.
San Elizario business
Not all in San Elizario revolves around the Church as this business attests.
San Elizario jail
This Old County Jail was built about 1850 of adobe bricks (sun-dried mud and reeds) and cottonwood logs around steel cell blocks. It served as official county jail from 1850 to 1873. It housed both jail ("carcel" in Spanish) and courtroom 9"juzgado"). According to legend, William Bonney, famed outlaw Billy the Kid, freed the only man ever to escape from this jail, his cohort Melouiades Sequro.
1850--Is the year California enters the Union and these people constructed a jail that is still standing.
San Elizario murals
Murals on this building in San Elizario were interesting. Note the flags, the San Elizario Chapel, agrarian scene, mountains could be in Mexico or the U.S. Is that a Texas Star on the mountain? Is that Mary the mother of Jesus?
San Elizario murals
This mural was on the side wall of a local bar. That appears to be Billy the Kid on the left. A shooting is taking place in the middle and finally a scene in front of the San Elizario Chapel.
Mike & Joyce Hendrix
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Until next time remember how good life is.