Of the six flags to fly over Texas, Spain’s waved longer than any other. In the 17th and 18th centuries, a constellation of Spanish missions dotted the Lone Star landscape.
Some of these still stand – the Alamo comes to mind – but not the one in Refugio, a small town in southeast Texas where another battle in the Texas Revolution was fought in 1836. Fifteen hundred Mexican soldiers battled 120 Americans, who lost. The Mexican victory splintered the resistance, but the abandoned mission survived.
These days there’s nothing left of it, but now one woman wants to resurrect it.
Jennifer Ragle, who works for the local chamber of commerce, says she’s on a mission to build a mission. She established a nonprofit organization, Los Amigos de Nuestra Senora Del Refugio, to build a full-size model of the Refugio mission in her hometown.
Ragle says folks not from Refugio would come into the Chamber to ask her, What’s in Refugio? “And I had no answer for them,” she says, “and I’ve lived here my whole life.”
The town used to have a swimming pool and movie theater, but both closed. Ragle says she wants to bring back the town’s landmarks.
“Some people just haven’t been motivated to do stuff for the community,” she says. “If I’m going to live here, I’m going to make it how I want to make it.”
What you’ll hear in this segment:
– How Refugio keeps its small-town charm and the town’s place in Texas history
– Why Ragle loves her hometown and why she’s motivated to save it
– The elements they have from the old mission that they’re incorporating into the new mission design