Mission Espíritu Santo in Goliad State Park has been an anchor of Texas history for more than 250 years.
“It was occupied by the Spaniards here from 1749 all the way to 1830,” says Assistant Park Superintendent Jared Ramirez. “In 1830, the site was abandoned and kind of fell into ruins.”
For 100 years, there was little historical interest in the landmark. That changed during the Great Depression, when the Civilian Conservation Corps employed World War I veterans to rebuild the site.
“There’s a lot of work that’s been done to try to present this as an 18th century Franciscan mission,” Ramirez says. “One of the things I think everyone kind of understands is that Texas is just a different place. We have people from all over the country that come here and volunteer throughout the year. They say, ‘You know, in Texas we see flags, we see Texas flags everywhere we go. We haven’t seen that in other states. We don’t see that in Illinois. We don’t see that in Alabama.’”
Ramirez says that’s because Texas history is so different.
“We were a country,” he says. “We were colonized by Spain before we were colonized by England, so there’s this whole other chapter of history. And I think our mission really speaks to that.”