Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Socorro Mission Restoration

During the restoration project

The beauty of the Socorro Mission (featured yesterday) is evident to us because hardworking individuals and visionary organizations started a five year restoration project in 2000.  Today, we feature some photographs of the interior of the Mission during that restoration, some links to historical photographs of the mission, and a history of that restoration.

A TREAT:  During the Texas Centennial in 1936, a series of documentary photographs were taken of the mission, and are now held in the Historic American Building Survey in the Library of Congress.  Take a look, click here!  And here!

Feature article about the mission and the restoration, written by one of the key restoration partners.  Beautiful photographs are included in this article.

Community Cornerstones Partnership did the restoration.  Their website, says this about the mission and the restoration:  "Spanish and Piro Indian refugees fleeing the Pueblo Revolt founded the village of Socorro del Sur in 1680. The new community soon erected a church building of jacal construction. By 1744 a larger, permanent church was built. Beautiful vigas painted with flowers and geometric designs supported the roof. In 1829, devastating floods destroyed the church, but parishioners were able to salvage many of the vigas and corbels. The nave of the present structure, La Purísima, was dedicated in 1843. The bell wall, sanctuary and transepts, and right sacristy and mortuary were added by 1887.

Unfortunately, in the twentieth century the exterior of the church was cement plastered and a concrete collar was installed. Trapped moisture, aggravated by a leaking roof, damaged the walls and rotted the ends of several vigas and corbels. The west wall began to slump. In 1999, Cornerstones' Pat Taylor helped complete a preservation plan describing the history of La Purísima, the current condition of the building, and the work needed to stabilize it and restore its original beauty. The preservation process has included making 20,000 adobe bricks to replace damaged adobes in the foundation, walls, and roof parapets. Extensive structural repairs and interior mud and lime plastering have been completed. The restoration is now in its final phase that includes interior finish details, and front façade/bell tower repairs. In November 2004, the site received a Save America's Treasures appropriation award. Preservation is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2005."
A detailed history of the restoration project is also available at the El Paso County website.

Would you like to visit the El Paso Missions?  A new tour service is now available.  Click here for more information! 

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