Mission San José, the largest of the Texas missions, was founded on February 23, 1720 was laid out as a traditional mission plan with a pueblo for the indigenous people. Carved stone façade described as the “Queen of the Missions”. The carved stone façade of the church has been described to rival those of Europe with intricate carving and use of negative space. The soft native limestone from further upstream along the San Antonio River provided a unique carving opportunity – stone soft enough to carve with wood-carving tools. Today, the Mission is predominantly original with the exception of some changes made by members of the Benedictine Order from Pennsylvania in the late 1850s. The church façade and Rose Window and much of the north and south walls of the church are original, other portions were rebuilt during the WPA, including the bell tower which collapsed in 1928.
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