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Texas Hill Country Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

San Antonio: San Fernando Cathedral


THE JOURNEY FROM CHURCH TO CATHEDRAL

The Spanish Colonial San Fernando Cathedral, most likely completed in 1755, embodies a storied past. It was, and remains, at the heart of San Antonio, sharing the city’s central plaza with the Alamo. Two craftsmen from San Luis Potosi, master stonemason Geronimo de Ibarra and stonecutter Felipe de Santiago, took charge of the primary construction, a task that cost over 12,000 pesos. By the end of the eighteenth century, the church had acquired vessels, mission records, and parishioners as a result of the secularization of nearby missions, and it served as religious and social center well into the early 1800s. It was here that James Bowie married Ursula de Veramendi. Mexican cannons were mounted to its rooftop during the siege of Bexar and local lore buries the remains of the Alamo heroes here although it isn’t verified. But by the 1840’s the church fell into disrepair. Missing half a roof, the church served as nesting site for swallows and a roost for bats. Finally, in 1868 renovations began under architect Francois P. Giraud, who razed the original bell tower, replaced the nave with a Gothic Revival design, and built twin bell towers. The original walls, limestone rubble with a goat’s milk mortar, were replaced. Upon completion of the renovations, a formation of the Diocese of San Antonio granted the church a cathedral designation in 1874. One hundred years later the cathedral underwent extensive and major renovations, in time for Pope John Paul II’s visit in September of 1987. Today, the cathedral continues to carry out the duties and serves of the Catholic Church, a charge quite remarkable for a structure entering its fourth century.

Watch the video below to learn more about Spanish Settlement of Texas. This video was produced for inclusion in the Hispanic Texans mobile tour, more information about which may be found on our Hispanic heritage page at the following link: http://texastimetravel.com/travel-themes/main-hispanic-heritage


Location

  • 115 Main Plaza
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • 78205

Contact

Hours & Fees

  • Daily. This is an active parish, please be respectful of services.

  • Free.


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