Even though there is National Park status for the San Antonio Missions, and they are of the 14 U.S. sites on the tentative list for possible World Heritage distinction, the money to restore them and preserve them is not enough—yet. So far $4 million dollars has been raised with another $11.5 million to go.
The missions were established almost 300 years ago, as Catherine mentioned in her post on them in our series of the World Heritage tentative list. In U.S. history–(not counting places like the Hopewell Culture sites or Anasazi ruins like Mesa Verde) that’s ancient. One thing I enjoyed about these missions when I visited them is the chance to learn more about the Spanish and Catholic influence on the development of the U.S. When one grows up in the midwest or the east coast of the United States, these are details that can be overlooked. Places like Mt. Vernon and Boston Harbor get more press.
The fund raising effort for the missions is being done by Las Misiones. The organization has the right idea about caring for those things that are important. Although World Heritage status would be terrific, not having it yet is not the worse thing. The missions included in the fund raising effort are: Mission Conception, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan and Mission Espada.