Our third stop of the day was at the Mission San Jose. I had visited a couple of times but was happy to see it again.
Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo was founded in 1720 by Fray Antonio Margil de Jesús, It became the largest Texas Mission. More than 300 inhabitants worked the fields and cared for the livestock and they completed the complex in 1782. As a major social and cultural center it became known as the "Queen of the Missions”.
The church's carvings are among its most notable features and the famous "Rose Window" is considered one of the finest pieces of Spanish Colonial ornamentation in the country. Other features are the convento area and the stairway to the belfry and choir loft. Each of the 25 risers was hand-hewn from a single live-oak log and constructed without nails or pegs. Also featured is a granary with flying buttresses, a gristmill, restored defensive walls and living quarters.
The mission was named for Saint Joseph and the Marques de San Miguel de Aguayo. Much of this restored structure was a project of the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s.