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Stephen F. Austin State University

Mission Dolores - San Augustine, Texas

Mission Dolores

San Augustine, Texas

The long time wish of the San Augustine County Historical Society has been a reconstruction of some of the structures at Mission Dolores-this can be documented to the early 1960s, but probably dates to the 1940s when the society was re-activated after World War II. Archaeologists had been trying since the early 1940s to confirm that the location locally known as Mission Hill was indeed the mission, and it wasn't until Jim Corbin's work in the late 1970s that such confirmation was finally achieved. Unfortunately, Corbin's work also showed that much of the mission had been destroyed, and there really wasn't enough left from which to base a reconstruction. The THC helped the City of San Augustine get a federal grant in to build a museum, archaeology lab, archive, trail, and RV park in 1998, and while there were plans for reconstructions, this did not occur.

In 2007, THC again helped by awarding SFA with just under $5,000 to do some more archaeology to try to determine the dimensions of the mission. This field work was conducted in spring 2008 and although the analysis is not complete (the report is not due until 2014), a minimum and maximum size for the mission compound was tentatively determined. Instead of a reconstruction-which simply is not possible from the existing data, the idea is to proceed with a simulation or replication of what the mission complex might have looked like, based on documentary and archaeological evidence from Mission Dolores, in addition to documentary and archaeological information from Los Adaes, and ethnographic information about Spanish colonial vernacular building styles. We are now proceeding with the planning of the replication of the mission, some agricultural fields, and some Ais houses. San Antonio architect Mark Wolf will spearhead the project, and he has sketched out a plan for the replication.

Mission Dolores Photographs