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Friday, November 9, 2007

Along the El Paso Mission Trail

Cotton Fields in El Paso, Texas

The Historic El Paso Mission Trail

These landmarks are privately owned by the Catholic Diocese are are actively supported by the local parishes. They are listed on the National Register of Histoic Places.

Mission Ysleta, the oldest continuously active parish in Texas. The first Mass was said here in 1680 when the Spaniards built a temporary mission church. It was rebuilt after floods in 1740 and 1744. The present structure dates to 1851 and 1897 when the beehive dome tower was added.

Mission Socorro. The first permanent mission was established by the Franciscans in 1691 when the parish consisted of sixty Indian families and fifteen Spanish ones. Those same floods destroyed the original structures and it was rebuilt in 1843. The beautiful ceiling consists of decorative, carved cottonwood and cypress beams salvaged from the original.

Presidio Chapel San Elizario. The present day chapel was built in 1882 but a presidio (a fortified settlement) was established here as early as 1684 and included a small chapel.

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