Texas has probably more historic landmarks than any other place I’ve ever lived and one of the oldest and most interesting is the Presidio Nuestra Senora De Loreto De La Bahia in Goliad. Presidio La Bahia (fort on the bay), has a unique history going back to the early 1700’s. It became the only Spanish fort responsible for the defense of the entire eastern section of Texas and soldiers from Presidio La Bahia fought with the Spanish army against the British during the Revolutionary War.
The Presidio La Bahia is the oldest standing fort west of the Mississippi river. It is a fort however, not a mission. The beautiful chapel shown below was built in the courtyard for the use of the soldiers and settlers living in the area. It’s the oldest building in the compound in continuous use since the 1700’s. It has been owned by the Catholic Church since the mid 1800’s and is currently operated by the Catholic Diocese of Victoria. The Presidio La Bahia has recently undergone a much-needed interior restoration and now boasts museum quality exhibits for you Texas history buffs out there.
It’s the fort itself that fascinates me the most. Walking around the quadrangle on a hot & humid summer afternoon, it’s all too easy to image what it must have been like for those early Spanish settlers. It’s also deeply moving to understand that this is the spot where so many Texans lead by Colonel James Walker Fannin were massacred by Antonio López de Santa Anna on March 27th (Palm Sunday) in 1836.
Whatever your reason for visiting this historic landmark, you owe it to yourself to make the drive down to Goliad to photograph a real piece of Texas and American history.