Saturday, November 7, 2009

El Paso Mission Trail- November 6

The one picture I have posted here I took when we were 100 miles east of El Paso. The city is located in the Franklin Mountain range,the southern tip of the Rockies. Our home is parked near the start of the Mission Trail. We began our tour yesterday at the Ysleta Mission,located in the town of Ysleta. The Tigua Indians founded this mission in 1682,and have maintained it since then. It is the oldest continuously active parish in Texas. At the second mission,Mission Socorro,a bus of special needs children had just pulled up when we arrived. Turned out that their teacher had participated in the reconstruction of the mission six years ago. So we were able to listen in as he discussed the special features of this mission. The picture of the altar which I have posted here gives the impression that the altar was made of marble- but it is only wood carved to give that impression. This church also has an interesting ceiling of decorative carved cottonwood and cypress roof supports called vigas(beams)and decorative corbels which support the vigas. Oral history indicates that the Piros Indians painted the designs on the wood. This building represents the best elements of Indian and Spanish design. The third mission,San Elizario,was built to serve as a chapel for the Spanish fort(called a presidio)named San Elcear. That presidio was built in 1684. The present day mission was completed in 1882. There are other adobe historical buildings near this chapel which comprise the San Elizaro Historic District. I have posted here a picture of that chapel. This was at one time a thriving agricultural area. We saw a large grove of pecan trees outside of this town,and also fields of cotton. Is seems as though there are no plans to pick the cotton as we noticed the plants are dried up and the cotton bolls are lying on the ground. Maybe it is not economically feasible to harvest the crop this year.

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