Mission Dolores Now an Official Texas State Historic Site

The Texas Historical Commission (THC) voted January 29 to accept the Mission Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de los Ais (Mission Dolores) property in San Augustine as a Texas State Historic Site.

Mission Dolores was a Spanish mission built in 1717 and then rebuilt at a second location in 1721, both in what is now San Augustine County, just 20 miles west of the Texas-Louisiana border. The site tells an important history about the Native American experience with Texas’ earliest European settlers. Today, there are no historic above-ground remains of the mission. The mission site has been confirmed by archeological investigations and historical records. There is a museum and research laboratory associated with the property.

A decade ago, the San Augustine community constructed a museum and campground at Mission Dolores. In March 2015, the City of San Augustine as owner of the property requested that the THC consider adding the property to its Historic Sites Program.

As part of the Historic Sites Program, Mission Dolores will benefit from THC staff expertise in archeology, history education, and historic preservation. The site’s RV park provides a tremendous opportunity to build dynamic programs to serve families statewide.

“We are very excited to accept Mission Dolores into our State Historic Sites family, and we look forward to continuing the wonderful partnership we have with the great people of San Augustine,” said THC Chairman John L. Nau, III.

San Augustine has a proud record of historic preservation. In 2010, the THC worked with the community to restore their county courthouse through the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program. San Augustine was designated an official Main Street City in 2013 and has shown a deep commitment to revitalizing its downtown.

“San Augustine is clearly a community that pulls together and makes things happen. We are thrilled to acquire this property, which is also our first mission, and begin the next chapter of its history. We look forward to working with Mayor Hughes on a transfer agreement that will provide the details for this great opportunity,” said Mark Wolfe, THC executive director.

An important addition to the State of Texas’ historic treasures, Mission Dolores is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is a designated State Antiquities Landmark. El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail also passes through the property. Visitors can explore the site’s history at the museum where interpretive displays tell the story of Mission Dolores. The property also has a campground, picnic area, and group pavilions.

The THC oversees the operations of 20 additional historic sites around the state, including three forts, two plantations, seven house museums, two archeological sites, and the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg.