Presidio La Bahia Home Page
Early History Of Presidio La Bahia
General Ignacio Zaragoza
Texas Revolution
The Battle Of Coleto Creek
The Goliad Massacre
The Angel Of Goliad
After The Texas Revolution
Restoration Of Presidio La Bahia
Under Nine Flags
Presidio La Bahia Today
Archelogy At Presidio La Bahia
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Friends Of The Fort
The Quarters
Presidio La Bahia Living History Program
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Presidio La Bahia.
Presidio La Bahia
 
Mexican army bayonets found at Presidio La Bahia. Click here to view larger image.
Bayonets
 
Bowl found at Presidio La Bahia. Click here to view larger image.
Bowl
 
Mexican spurs found at Presidio La Bahia. Click here to view larger image.
Spurs
 
Rifle on display at the Presidio La Bahia museum. Click here to view larger image.
Rifle
 
 

Presidio La Bahia, designated a National Historic Landmark, is considered the world's finest example of a Spanish frontier fort. This is the most fought over fort in Texas history, having seen participation in six National Revolutions/Wars for independence. Spanish, Mexican and Texas soldiers all garrisoned its fortified walls. Here, at the Crossroads of Revolution, was felt almost every attempt to forcibly change the governmental order of Texas.

 
Presidio La Bahia Today. Click here to view larger image.
 
Click above photo for enlarged view

Presidio La Bahia is a fort, not a mission. The chapel was erected in the the quadrangle for the sole use of the soldiers and Spanish settlers living in the town of La Bahia surrounding the fort. The name given the chapel was "Our Lady of Loreto", and is the oldest building in the compound in continuos use since the 1700's.

One of the oldest churches in America, it also is one of the only buildings in existence that has its original "groin vaulted ceiling" in place. The striking fresco behind the altar was done in 1946 by the "Michelangelo of South Texas", renowned Corpus Christi artist, Antonio Garcia. Located in the niche above the chapel entrance is the stature of Our Lady of Loreto sculpted by Lincoln Borglum, of Mount Rushmore fame.

This centuries-old chapel was where Fannin's men were held during part of their captivity before being massacred. The First Declaration of Texas Independence was signed inside the chapel.

After the Texas Revolution of 1836, while other buildings of the Presidio fell into neglect and disrepair, the chapel was still used as a place of worship, and at one time was temporarily used as a private residence. An act of the Republic of Texas in 1841
restored church properties confiscated by the Republic. It was not until 1855 that the first non-Hispanic Bishop of Texas, Bishop J.M. Odin, received title from the Town Council of Goliad. Through the loving devotion of the local residents, the chapel continues its existence as a place of worship.

More than 33,000 people visit the Presidio each year. About 5,000 people attend the annual Goliad Massacre-Fort Defiance Living History Program each year. Click on the Living History Program button above to learn more about this reenactment of the battle of Coleto Creek and the massacre of Colonel Fannin and his men, on Palm Sunday, 1836.

When a visitor walks into the Presidio's entrance, they are instantly surrounded by the rich history of Spanish and Texas life styles of the 1800's. The museum includes the artifacts found at the Presidio, a short version of the award winning film "Precidio La Bahia And Its Place In Texas History" The video was first place winner in the Sons of the Republic of Texas 34th annual Presidio La Bahia awards competition -- the only video to ever win the award, and a gold citation winner -- the highest award given in the Texas Association of Museums Mitchell A. Wilder competition, and personal items of individuals who lived and worked at the Presidio.

After touring the museum, a visitor is free to walk the grounds of the Presidio. Visit the chapel that held over 300 of Colonel Fannin's men for a week prior to their massacre. Please remember, the chapel is an active church, visitors are asked to treat it with respect. There are also two grave sites inside the chapel. To the left of the altar is the grave of Carlos De La Garza. Another grave site about halfway into the chapel from the front doors and on the left is a mass grave. Outside of the chapel is a marked grave of Annie L. Taylor. A total of 15 grave sites have been located inside and outside the chapel. This is not unusual, as there are over 900 documented graves outside the Alamo church in San Antonio.


Outside the chapel, visit the rest of the Presidio grounds (Quadrangle). Here a visitor can get the feel of what it was like to live in a Mexican military installation in 1836.

You can even spend the night at Presidio La Bahia! Known as "The Quarters", it is adjacent to the museum. There is a door to the outside, so you are not locked in the Presidio when the employees leave after the work day. This is a popular stay for many people. Inquire about "The Quarters " before your visit.


The presidio complex consists of the officer's quarters, which is now the museum, the Our Lady of Loreto Chapel, and the enlisted men's barracks all of rock construction and all connected by an eight foot high wall.

Presidio La Bahia is one of only forty National Historic Landmarks in the State of Texas and is listed in Fitzroy and Dearbons International Dictionary of Historic Places as one of the 186 most historic places in the Americas.

 

The fresco behind the Chapel altar, by Antonio Garcia
 

Throughout the year, several living history programs are held at Presidio La Bahia, the largest being the Goliad Massacre-Fort Defiance Living History program each March. The two-day event has been a yearly event since 1986, with several thousand people attending.

The reenactors study the lives of individuals from the Texas Revolution in 1836. Visitors are encouraged to ask questions of the reenactors. But remember, some of the reenactors are in first person. Therefore, they only know of events up to their capture after the battle of Coleto Creek. They will know nothing of events beyond that day.

Presidio La Bahia is owned and operated by the Catholic Diocese of Victoria in Texas. No federal, state, county, or city tax dollars are spent at Presidio La Bahia. The total means of support is an admission fee, donations, and profits made on the sale of items in the gift shop. A group of supporters called "Friends of the Fort" make annual contributions which make the living history programs possible as well as paying for items of need.

 

Located in the niche above the chapel entrance is the statue of Our Lady of Loreto sculpted by Lincoln Borglum, of Mt. Rushmore fame. This centuries-old chapel was where Fannin's men were held during part of their captivity before being massacred. The First Declaration of Texas Independence was signed inside the chapel. After the Texas Revolution of 1836, while other buildings of the Presidio fell into neglect and disrepair, the chapel was still used as a place of worship, and at one time was temporarily used as a private residence. An act of the Republic of Texas in 1841 restored church properties confiscated by the Republic. It was not until 1855 that the first non-Hispanic Bishop of Texas, Bishop J. M. Odin, received title from the Town Council of Goliad.

 
Stature of Our Lady of Loreto sculpted by Lincoln Borglum, of Mount Rushmore fame.
 
Inside the chapel of Our Lady of Loreto
 

The name given the chapel was "Our Lady of Loreto", and is the oldest building in the compound in continuous use since the 1700s. One of the oldest churches in America, it also is one of the only buildings in existence that has its original "groin vaulted ceiling" in place. The striking fresco behind the altar was done in 1946 by the "Michelangelo of South Texas", renowned Corpus Christi artist, Antonio Garcia.

 

Display cases contain relics found at Presidio La Bahia during the restoration in the mid-1960's and after. Archelogy continues at Presidio La Bahia today. Click HERE to learn more about archelogy at Presidio La Bahia.

 
 
Display in the museum
 

Clothing worn by the priests, military, and citizens are on display.

 

In the museum, visitors can watch portions of the award winning film "Precidio La Bahia And Its Place In Texas History". You can purchase the video from the gift shop. The video is great for Texas History buffs and for schools.

 
Visitors can watch portions of Precidio La Bahia And Its Place In Texas History


Display in the museum
 

Presidio La Bahia has had nine flags flown over the fort. Displays include information about the different flags. Uniforms of the countries that have occupied the fort are also included.

 
 

 
 
 
Friends Of The Fort | P.O. Box 57 | Goliad, Texas 77963 | US Hwy 183 (77A)
Telephone: (361) 645-3752
Copyright: 2002 - Friends Of The Fort
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