Exterior of Socorro Mission, once a place of refuge for the Piro Indians after the Pueblo Revolt.
The Socorro Mission. Socorro means “help” in Spanish. Its original location was less than a mile away, but it was lost after Rio Grande flooded it in 1740.
The white adobe structure, influenced by Spain, was re-constructed but lost again to a second flood in 1829. Volunteers re-constructed; it was completed in 1843.
Despite some set-backs, much of the interior was preserved, including the ceiling.
The mission remain an active parishes, operated by the Diocese of El Paso.
A wooden cross, built by the original floor. The wire came from an old fence along the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso.
An original alter at the Socorro Mission.
Statue of St. Michael; it was pulled by a trailer by oxen from Mexico.
Cross of Jesus Christ in the Socorro Mission. Mass is held here every Saturday.
Interior of Socorro Mission. Several years ago there was no floor; hardwood floors were later installed. Spanish-style tiles later replaced the wood.
Simple confession wall in the Socorro Mission.
A second building for services was constructed for Sunday Catholic Mass. Structures were built facing south to welcome people crossing Rio Grande.
Cemetery in Socorro. The graves date back to the 1800s. Parishioners and locals are still buried there.
The San Elizario Chapel on the El Paso Mission Trail.
Chapels were built facing north to serve the Spanish Military. Because most battles happened during the morning, it was built this way so the sun did not shine on their eyes – but in the eyes of the enemies.
The El Paso Mission Trail Association reports the Rio Grande flooded the original chapel in 1829. It was later re-built.
A stop for stage coaches traveling the Mission Trail.
Traveling the mission trail from current day Mexico City to current day Santa Fe would take approximately 30 days.
Tourists can enjoy several art galleries now along the Mission Trail. The Mission Trail is now a busy road.
The first jail in El Paso County was built in 1849. Legend has it Billy the Kid helped free a friend held here.
Door to jail cell. The iron to build the cell came by train from Chicago.
People from San Elizario proudly call this the “first main street in the United States.”
Interior, the Ysleta Mission, completed in 1681. The Tigua Indians were instrumental in constructing the church.
Shrine inside the Ysleta Mission, designed by the Taos Indian Tribe in New Mexico.
Interior of the Ysleta Mission. A fire destroyed much of the building in 1907. However, much of the building remained standing because of the strong adobe walls, the El Paso Mission Trail Association reports. The original alter also remains.
Exterior, Ysleta Mission. A staff member from the Tigua Cultural Center in Ysleta said the Tigua Indians actively practice Catholicism while still observing their native ancestor’s spirituality.
Ysleta Mission also remains an active parish. It is the oldest Catholic parish in the state of Texas.
Doors are always open to visitors. Over 4,000 guests visited in 2010.
The Tigua tribe was recognized federally in 1968.
Exterior of the Tigua Indian Cultural Center on the Mission Trail. The Tigua Indians say they are the oldest ethnic group in the state of Texas.
To get to the early history in the Lone Star state, head on over to the El Paso Mission Trail in west Texas.