San José Restoration Award is Eighth for Old Spanish Missions

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The Old Spanish Missions have added another award to their growing list of recent honors — a San Antonio Conservation Society (SACS) 2014 Preservation Award for restoration of Mission San José’s façade. It marks the eighth award the missions have received over the past few years and will be presented at the SACS Award Dinner on Thursday, March 27, at the Briscoe Western Art Museum.

Only 10 such awards are given annually by SACS to recognize significant accomplishment in accordance with its purpose “… to preserve and to encourage the preservation of historic buildings, objects, places and customs relating to the history of Texas, its natural beauty and all that is admirably distinctive to our State; and by such physical and cultural preservation, to keep the history of Texas legible and intact to educate the public, especially the youth of today and tomorrow, with knowledge of our inherited regional values.”

Las Misiones is very proud of this eighth award in two years, which recognizes the quality of restoration work we have been doing to preserve these precious historical treasures,” said Father David Garcia, director of the Old Spanish Missions. “The missions not only represent our history, but also the tradition of our faith. We stand in a long line of inspired people who built and maintained these sacred places for almost three hundred years. The many people, foundations and corporations who continue to support our efforts can be assured that their contributions are a great investment in the future of our community.”

Mission San José with newly restored frontispiece. Photo by Carol Baass Sowa/Today's Catholic.

Mission San José with newly restored frontispiece. Photo by Carol Baass Sowa/Today’s Catholic.

“We are absolutely delighted,” said Carolyn Peterson, principal at Ford, Powell & Carson Architects & Planners (FPC), mission restoration architects for the Archdiocese of San Antonio. “The work on the façade at San José is just amazing. I’m so glad it’s being recognized because it isn’t that obvious to anybody looking at it generally.” Deterioration had been present, she related, and potential for further deterioration was quite high, so she was pleased they were able to halt this and preserve the facade for the future.

Building and Monument Conservation of Arlington, Mass., worked on restoration of the stone frontispiece on the façade over a period of three years, beginning with a comprehensive assessment in spring 2009, and Peterson noted they will continue their work on San José’s Rose Window this spring, working on selected areas where the stone has been damaged. They will also be working with locally-based Curtis Hunt Restorations to familiarize them with the special lime/caliche mortar developed by BMC to replicate original mission mortars, which will be used to continue repointing the sacristy’s south wall.

In addition to Mission San José, FPC will receive restoration awards at the SACS Award Dinner for work on St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, the Witte Museum’s South Texas Heritage Center, the Eager House at HemisFair Park and Austin Hall at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville.

Restored carvings on Mission San José’s frontispiece include St. Joseph, cherub and St. Francis of Assisi. Photo by Carol Baass Sowa/Today's Catholic.

Restored carvings on Mission San José’s frontispiece include St. Joseph, cherub and St. Francis of Assisi. Photo by Carol Baass Sowa/Today’s Catholic.

The missions’ string of awards began in 2012 with Mission Concepción’s interior restoration receiving the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians’ (SESAH) Best of the South: Preserving Southern Architecture Award of Excellence. Mission Concepción’s interior restoration was also recognized by the San Antonio Conservation Society with a 2012 Historic Preservation Award.

That same year, a Historic Restoration Award from Preservation Texas went to both Mission Concepción and Mission San José for their interior restorations. This award recognizes outstanding and inspiring accomplishments in historic preservation throughout Texas.

In spring of 2012, The Texas Historical Commission awarded the Old Spanish Missions Inc. the prestigious Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation in recognition of OSM’s fundraising and preservation efforts for missions Espada, San Juan, San José and Concepción. It was presented at the capitol building in Austin by Governor Rick Perry.

In 2013, Mission Concepción’s interior restoration received a Merit Award in the category of Religious Architecture Restoration from Faith & Form magazine and the American Institute of Architects’ Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture. That project was featured in the Winter 2013 Awards Issue of Faith & Form magazine and will also be displayed at the 2014 national convention of the American Institute of Architects in Chicago.

Also that year, Mission San Juan’s restoration garnered the People’s Choice Award at the annual Power of Preservation Promenade hosted by the Power of Preservation Foundation, with FPC, architects for restoration work at the missions, additionally receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of O’Neil Ford’s legacy, which included 20th century restoration work at the missions.

And 2013 was capped off with Mission San Juan being named recipient of a Preservation Texas award, with winners chosen from more than 32 projects throughout Texas nominated in seven different categories.

Definitely winners all.

A shorter version of this story ran in the Feb. 21 issue of Today’s Catholic. Parts from an earlier awards story that are pertinent have been added.

*Featured/top photo:

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