Published by the Texas Transportation Museum, San Antonio

Ford Model T Tours of
San Antonio's Historic Missions

Ford Model Ts at Mission Espada, 2009

To celebrate the essential role played by the automobile in rediscovering and saving San Antonio's missions - see more below - the T Fords of Texas has organized many annual tours of these fascinating and historically significant historic sites. While in previous years we have worked with the National Park Service and the Missions volunteer support group, the Compadres, to spend the entire day touring the sites, the event has now become a shorter, morning only drive of only 14 miles. We get to see the places again but get to get out of the raw August heat after lunch! It's important for clubs such as our to have local events that only take a morning because not everyone can spare an entire day or more each and every time we go out, which, as you can see from our event calendar, we do - a lot!
2017 Missions Tour Itinerary
Saturday August 5

9:00 AM -  9:30 AM      Texas Air Museum - Stinson Chapter
 9:50 AM -  10:10 AM      Mission Espada
10:15 AM - 10:35 AM      Mission San Juan
11:00 AM - 11:20 AM      Mission San Jose
11:40 AM - 12 Noon     Mission Concepcion
12:30 - Lunch at Big Bib BBQ At Stinson Airport

How the automobile saved San Antonio's Historic Missions

By the early 1900s, San Antonio's four historic missions, Concepcion, San Jose, San Juan and Espada, had long been abandoned. The buildings were in ruins. Roofs and supporting walls had collapsed, their construction materials purloined by anyone and everyone. Into this scene of neglect came early San Antonio motorists. These early leisure travelers, mostly comprised of San Antonio's more wealthy citizens, with the freedom of movement bestowed by the automobile, were appalled by what they found. They decided to act to save what was left of the sites. They button holed as many San Antonio movers and shakers, and brought them out to see the locations in their own vehicles at every opportunity. Their plan worked. Efforts were started to save what was left and restore, with historically accurate construction techniques using, often, the original materials that were lying in heaps all around, leading to the rebirth of the missions as culturally significant sites that continue to gain wider and wider recognition.
Historic Images of automobiles at San Antonio's Historic Missions
Early automobile at Mission San Jose, 1908
Ford Model T at Mission San Jose, San Antonio
Early automobiles at Mission San Jose, San Antonio
Early Cadillac at Mission Concepcion, San Antonio
Stylish lady and car at Mission San Jose, San Antonio
Cars at Mission San Jose, San Antonio
To celebrate the role that early automobiles - and their owners - played in saving and restoring San Antonio's historic missions, the San Antonio Ford Model T club, the "T Fords of Texas," tour these truly significant sites as often as possible. After missing 2011 due to scheduling issues, the club will set out again in 2012, only this time without the official involvement of the National Park Service and "Los Compadres," the volunteer group that continues to provide effective support to maintaining these historic sites for the future. While "TFOT" enjoyed working with both groups in 2009 and 2010, and would willingly do so again, the looser arrangement will allow the club to visit other nearby places, such as the Texas Air Museum at Stinson Airport in 2012.
Click image to visit the 2016 Mission Tour page

Click image to visit the 2015 Mission Tour page

Click image to visit the 2014 Mission Tour page

Click image to visit the 2013 Mission Tour page

Click image to visit the 2012 Mission Tour page

Click image to visit the 2010 Mission Tour page

Click image to visit the 2009 Mission Tour page


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Published by the T Fords of Texas, San Antonio's Ford Model T Club