Heritage, Volume 04, Number 03, Winter 1986

epoxy sealant, which does not shrink
when drying, and then the patch was
carefully painted over to match the original
color of the wood. Original decorations
on the vigas-interlocking circle
and X markings, along with flower stems
and blossoms-were also carefully retouched.
The workman who performed
the retouching had been married in the
mission some ten years earlier, so he felt
personally involved in his work.
After the completion of this phase of
the restoration came rededication services.
Bishop Pena and the parish priest,
Father Ramon Duran, led a host of religious
dignitaries in ceremonies that
included sprinkling both building and
people with holy water from a native pottery
vessel, anointing the walls with oil,
and finally celebrating the first mass in
the "new" mission.
Then the party began: traditional foods
were prepared al fresco, soft drinks were
available for thirsty celebrants, and Pueblo
dancers whooped it up-all in honor
of Nuestra Senora de la Purisima, the restored
mission that has served her parishioners
for the four centuries since its
establishment in 1680. The project designers,
the fundraisers, the architects,
the workers-all involved were aware of
the special historical and religious treasure
that the mission represents. A local
chapter of the Granaderos de Galvez, a
group devoted to recognition of Spain's
part in aiding the American Revolution,
convinced the Spanish government of
the importance of this piece of Spanish
history. The result was a grant of $10,000
from the King of Spain!
Phase II of the Socorro restoration included
plaster patching and painting inside
and out, plus the installation of exterior
sodium-vapor lights. The cables for
the lights, placed underground to maintain
the open atmosphere about the mission,
required trenching-each stage of
which was carefully monitored by Dr. Rex
Gerald of the University of Texas at El
Paso for possible archaeological clues to
the past.
More work remains to be done at Socorro-repair
and restoration of pews and
other furniture as well as landscaping to
enhance the beauty of the mission. Further
trenching should reveal the extent

and nature of outbuildings, potentially to
be accurately recreated to represent a
mission complex in the Spanish Southwest
well over a century ago. Archives in

The El Paso Mission Trail, current project of
cooperative efforts in El Paso, is shown here. The
Rio Grande, long subject to wandering, moved
once more in the early 1800s, leaving three
missions on each bank, including El Paso del
Norte, the present-day Ciudad Juarez, The
Chamizal Boundary Settlement between the
United States and Mexico (1963-1967)
produced the current course of the river, confined
now within concrete banks. Map by Herbert C.
Morrow and Barbara Rochford.
Mexico, Spain, and even the Vatican
Library in Rome are being searched to
produce an accurate basis for such reconstruction.

With restoration significantly in hand

at Socorro, attention of interested parties
has turned to Ysleta and San Elizario.
The El Paso Sesquicentennial's Mission
Trail Executive Committee, headed by
Sheldon Hall, is developing a central
plan for the entire El Paso Valley. The
Mission Trail itself has been marked with
signs developed by the State Highway
Department; the formal dedication of the
first Mission Trail sign was made on
March 13, 1986, by Spanish cultural attache
Carlos Abello-a major step toward
bringing restoration plans and needs
of the entire Mission Trail to public
attention.
21

Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 04, Number 03, Winter 1986. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45440/. Accessed December 27, 2014.