“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Socorro in El Paso County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

Socorro Mission La Purísima

Socorro Mission La Purisima Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Michael Stroud, June 1996
1. Socorro Mission La Purisima Marker
Inscription. During the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, Gov. Antonio de Otermín and Father Francisco de Ayeta led Piro Indian and Spanish refugees out of New Mexico into this region, establishing a settlement they named Socorro after the home they had left. The town's first permanent adobe church was built in 1691 and was called Nuestra Señora de la Limpia Concepción de los Piros del Socorro (Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception of the Piros of Socorro.) Construction of the present structure began following a destructive 1829 flood and was completed in 1840. The flood changed the course of the Rio Grande from north of Socorro to south of the townsite. When the river was declared the U.S.-Mexico boundary, Socorro became part of the United States.

Under the administration of the Franciscan monks for 172 years, the church was later governed by Diocesan priests as well as by Italian and Mexican Jesuits. Its history spans the time of the region's occupancy by Spain, Mexico, and the United States. Although Socorro Mission La Purísima, as it is know today, has been overshadowed by urban growth in nearby El Paso, it remains one of the oldest continuously occupied settlements in the southwest.
Location. 31° 39.541′ N, 106° 18.21′ W. Marker is in Socorro, Texas, in El Paso
The Socorro Mission Photo, Click for full size
By Michael Stroud, June 1996
2. The Socorro Mission
Socorro Mission is known for its pure and simple New Mexican mission architecture, especially its distinctive cloud-stepped façade reminiscence of Pueblo Indian pottery design. The colorful overhead beams (vigas) were painted by the Piro Indians centuries ago.
County. Marker is on South Nevarez Road near Winn Road, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 328 South Nevarez Road, El Paso TX 79927, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Socorro (here, next to this marker); Camino Real (a few steps from this marker); Casa Ortiz (approx. 0.3 miles away); Rio Vista Farm (approx. 2.2 miles away); Alderete-Candelaria House (approx. 2.5 miles away); Ysleta Plaza (approx. 2.6 miles away); Oldest Mission in Texas (approx. 2.7 miles away); First Mission and Pueblo in Texas (approx. 2.7 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Socorro.
Also see . . .
1. Socorro Mission Preservation Project. Records show that Socorro was officially founded during a Mass delivered by Fray Antonio Guerra on 13 October 1680. The location of this temporary shelter has never been determined. Socorro's first permanent church (located less than a mile south of this Mission) was in use by 1691 (Submitted on January 14, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.) 

2. Wikipedia entry for Socorro Mission La Purisima. (Submitted on January 14, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.)
Additional comments.
1. The Socorro Mission
Mission Nuestra Senora de Limpia Concepcion de los Piros de Socorro del Sur is located near
Socorro Mission La Purisima Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Kirchner, November 4, 2010
3. Socorro Mission La Purisima
the Yselta mission, just south of El Paso, and shares much of the history. The first church was started in 1684, completed in 1692, and destroyed by flood in 1740. It was replaced in 1744, destroyed in 1828, and finally replaced in 1843.

Inside you'll find a statue of St. Michael dating back to the early 1800s. Its beautiful ceiling is an intricate pattern of Indian-decorated and carved beams (vigas and latias/enrejados).

This Mission was entered in the National Register of Historical Places on April 15, 1970. Mission Socorro Archeological Site was added in 1993.
    — Submitted January 14, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.

2. National Register of Historic Places:
Socorro Mission (added 1972 - - #72001359)
Also known as Mission Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion del Puebla de Socorr
♦ Historic Significance: Information Potential, Architecture/Engineering
♦ Architect, builder, or engineer: Unknown
♦ Architectural Style: No Style Listed
♦ Area of Significance: Historic - Non-Aboriginal, Architecture
♦ Cultural Affiliation: Hispanic
♦ Period of Significance: 1825-1849, 1650-1699
♦ Owner: Private
♦ Historic Function: Religion
♦ Historic Sub-function:
Interior - Socorro Mission La Purisima Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Kirchner, November 4, 2010
4. Interior - Socorro Mission La Purisima
Religious Structure
♦ Current Function: Religion
♦ Current Sub-function: Religious Structure

Mission Socorro Archeological Site (added 1993 - - #92001741)
Also known as 41EP1532;La Purisima Concepcion de Nuestra Senora del Socorr
♦ Historic Significance: Information Potential, Event
♦ Area of Significance: Exploration/Settlement, Historic - Aboriginal
♦ Cultural Affiliation: Spanish, Piro
♦ Period of Significance: 1825-1849, 1800-1824, 1750-1799, 1700-1749, 1650-1699
♦ Owner: Private
♦ Historic Function: Funerary, Religion
♦ Historic Sub-function: Cemetery, Religious Structure
    — Submitted February 8, 2013, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.

3. Texas missions
The Order of Friars Minor, known as the Franciscans, was founded by St. Francis of Assisi in the 13th century. It was the Franciscans who were given
responsibility for all the Texas missions.
    — Submitted January 14, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.

4. San Elizario Mission
San Elizario, named for the French Saint Elcear, is one of the oldest communities in the El Paso
San Elizario Mission Photo, Click for full size
By Michael Stroud, June 1996
5. San Elizario Mission
San Elizario Mission, also in the area, is part of the original chain of Missions. See comments for more information. The church facade has been repaired since this picture was taken.
area, with a fort or presidio established to protect the Camino Real and area settlements. The fort saw a great deal of military action and was moved 37 miles up the Rio Grande in 1789 to the site that still bears its name today.

San Elizario was established in 1789 on the former site of Hacienda de los Tiburcios as a Spanish Colonial Fort known as Presidio of San Ecleario. The Presidio was moved from its former location in response to requests from settlers for military protection from Indian raids. It operated as a Spanish Fort until 1814 when troops withdrew during the Mexican War for Independence [1810-1831].

During its years as a part of Mexico, The Presidio of San Ecleario [now San Elizario] was occupied periodically by Mexican troops. A reduced military presence resulted in the Fort's decline. American control of the area began in 1848 with the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which established the Rio Grande as the border between the United States and Mexico. When the County of El Paso was organized in 1850, the town of San Elizario was chosen as the first county seat and served as such until 1873. In 1877 it was the scene of the crisis known as the Salt War, in which local business men attempted to control the salt market that had operated since colonial times.

Although San Elizario was bypassed by the railroad and has become a rural farming community, it remains an important element in the region's rich heritage.

San Elizario is located at 31° 34' 58" N, 106° 15' 57" W.
    — Submitted January 14, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.

Categories. Churches, Etc.ExplorationNotable EventsSettlements & Settlers
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 7,854 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.   3, 4. submitted on , by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona.   5. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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