The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004 Page: 2
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2 Southwestern Historical Quarterly July
architects, contractors, artisans, and laborers employed in the venture.
Tourists, indeed parishioners of a church, may assume that facts regard-
ing the construction and subsequent changes of a dynamic community
institution, symbolized in an impressive, monumental building, are well
known. While there is a rich archival heritage of architectural drawings,
plans, and documents of monumental buildings supported by the
Spanish crown during the colonial era, the evidence for the construc-
tion of Spanish-style presidios, churches, missions, and houses on New
Spain's northern frontier is scanty and dispersed. Indeed, the plans and
drawings for buildings become increasingly scarce the further one draws
away from the central areas of New Spain.2 Although plans for Texas
presidios are known, they are virtually unknown for any other Spanish
building in the province." The documentary evidence for the construc-
tion of San Fernando's parish church underscores that lament.
The San Fernando church has been the subject of several studies,
but many misunderstandings persist primarily because previous schol-
ars depended on secondary sources and incomplete primary sources.4
While the sources remain incomplete, this study clarifies many
The records are both in Spain (especially in the Archivo General de Indias, Seville; cited
hereafter as AGI) and in Mexico (especially in the series Pianos y Conventos, Archivo General
de la Naci6n, Mexico City; cited hereafter as AGN). The sources are exploited by books on
architectural history, such as Enrique Marco Dorta, Estudsos y documentos de arte hzspanoamencano
(Madrid: Real Academia de la Historia, 1981) and Mina Ramirez Montes, La escuadra y el cancel:
Documentos sobre la construcc6n de la catedral de Morelia (Mexico City: Universidad Nacional
Aut6noma de Mexico, 1987) among many others. While more difficult to document for the
northern areas of New Spain, Aurehano Tapia Mendez, La catedral del Nuevo Rezno de Ledn
(Monterrey. Archivo General del Estado de Nuevo Le6n, 1989), for example, has supplement-
ed records from the AGN with records from local archives to give a developmental history for
the cathedral in Monterrey.
a See Juan Antonio de la Pefia, Derroterro de la expedicsdn en la provzncza de los Texas (Mexico City.
En la Imprenta Nueva Plantiniana de Juan Francisco de Ortega Bonilla, 1722); Max L.
Moorhead, The Preszdzo Bastion of the Spanzsh Borderlands (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press,
1975), plates 14, 15, 21; and Adin Benavides, "The Fortification of Laredo: The Documentary
Evidence for Proposals in 1792 and 1813," El Campanarzo, 20 (Sept., 1989), 11-12. For conjectur-
al use of plans for missions see James E. Ivey and Marlys B. Thurber, The Mssions of San Antonio- A
Histonc Structures Report and Admiznstrative History, part i, The Spanish Colonzal Misszons (Santa Fe:
National Park Service, Southwest Cultural Resources Center, 1984), 41-43.
" The historical literature should be read critically since errors in chronology, translation, and
transcription occur. William Corner (comp. and ed.), San Antonio de Bixar A Guzde and History
(San Antonio: Bainbridge & Corner, 1890o; facsimile ed., San Antonio: Graphic Arts, 1977), 12;
P. F. Parisot and C. J. Smith (comps ), Hzstory of the Catholzc Church in the Diocese of San Antonio,
Texas, 1685-1897 (San Antomo- Carrico & Bowen, 1897), 19-33, 63, 75, 77, Camilo Torrente,
Old and New San Fernando ([San Antonio?]: The Claretian Missionaries, 1927), Frederick C.
Chabot, San Fernando: The Villa Capztal of the Provznce of Texas, with Illustrations; and with an Account
of the Present San Fernando Cathedral and Other Landmarks, as well as of the Settlers Themselves (San
Antonio: Naylor Printing Co., 1930), Carlos Eduardo Castafieda, Our Catholzc Heritage in Texas,
1519-1936, ed. Paul J. Foik (7 vols.; Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones Co., 1936-1958), III,
94-101; VI, 351-353; VII, 46, 50, 73-74; Ernest Allen Connally, "The Ecclesiastical and Military
Architecture of the Spanish Province of Texas" (Ph.D. diss., Harvard University, 1955), 361-381,
and Marion A Habig, The Alamo Chain of Missions: A Hstory of San Antonio's Five Old Misszons
(Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1968), 257-268.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004, periodical, 2004; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/m1/20/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.