|RVer Jimmy Smith outside of Presido La Bahia (Julianne G. Crane)|
The Presidio Nuestra Señora de Loreto de La Bahía was established in 1721 on what is now known as Matagorda Bay (on the Gulf Coast), and it was relocated to its present Goliad site in 1749, along with Mission Espíritu Santo.
Sitting south of Goliad State Park along the San Antonio River, La Bahia is the best-restored Spanish presidio in the United States. In the 1960s, local philanthropist Kathryn O’Connor donated $1 million to restore the presidio. Construction took place between 1963 and 1968. The fort was rebuilt to its 1836 appearance, based on documents and archeological evidence dating from the Texas Revolution.
Today it is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It has been owned by the Catholic Church since 1853 and is currently operated by the Catholic Diocese of Victoria, Texas.
|Angel of Goliad & Fannin’s Memorial (Julianne G. Crane)|
Another point of historical interest is Presidio La Bahía’s major role in the Texas Revolution.
Colonel James Fannin and his approximately 350 ill-fated men were captured nearby and held at the Presidio prior to being executed at Gen. Santa Anna’s order, an act of infamy later recalled at the Battle of San Jacinto with the cry, ‘Remember Goliad! Remember the Alamo!'” The nearby Fannin Memorial Monument (in the distance above) marks the common burial site of these soilders.
There is also a statue to Francita Alavez (ca.1816 – ca.1906) known as the Angel of Goliad. Alavez is credited with saving the lives of numerous Texas prisoners of war in the “Goliad Massacre” and at Copano and Victoria, by interceding on their behalf and persuading the help of Mexican officials.
|Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza (Julianne G. Crane)|
Also featured on the grounds is a bronze statue of Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza, who defeated the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 on Cinco de Mayo. Visit the reconstructed Zaragoza Birthplace State Historic Site (adjacent to the Presidio) to learn about this Texas-Mexican hero, born in Goliad in 1829. The museum is open on Saturdays.
If you go
Presido La Bahia
1-mile south of Goliad, Texas, on U.S. Highway 183 and 77A
Phone: (361) 645-3752
Open: 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Closed: New Years Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas
Admission: $4; Seniors: $3.50; Children Under-12: $1; 5-and-under: Free
For a post on the nearby Mission Espiritu Santo, click here.
For information on the Goliad State Park campground, click here.