The darkest day in Texas history, the Goliad Massacre, took place here on Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836 when Col. James Walker Fannin and 341 men under his command were executed a week after their surrender at the Battle of Coleto, under orders of the Mexican dictator, General Santa Anna. There was twice as much loss of life here at Goliad than at the Alamo. Nothing had touched the raw nerve of the American character as did the news of the large numbers of men who were all slaughtered in one execution. As grim news reached the United States, volunteers streamed forth for the people of Texas who were engaged in a war with a dictator who took no prisoners a war of extermination. This one single event, the Goliad Massacre, more than any event in the Texas Revolution, proved to the people of the United States what manner of warfare confronted the Texans
THE PRESIDIO TODAY
The Presidio was restored in the 1960s through the dedicated generosity of Mrs. Kathryn O'Connor to stand as a lasting memorial alongside its sister shrines, the Alamo and San Jacinto. Local artisans supplied the labor for the project and the noted restoration architect, Raiford L. Stripling, directed the project to its completion. Today it is considered one of the most authentic restoration projects in the United States.
OUR LADY OF LORETO CHAPEL
Though a fort, not a mission, a chapel was erected inside the quadrangle for the sole use of the soldiers and Spanish settlers living in the town of La Bahia surrounding the fort. The religious needs of the Indian tribes were served by the missions of Rosario, Espiritu Santo and Refugio. The chapel was given the title "Our Lady of Loreto", and is the oldest building in the compound in continuous use since the 1700s.
One of the oldest churches in America, it also is one of the only buildings in existence: that has its original "groin vaulted ceiling" in place. The striking fresco at the back of the altar was done in 1946 by the "Michelangelo of South Texas", Corpus Christi artist Antonio Garcia. Located in the niche above the chapel entrance is the statue of Our Lady of Loreto made by Lincoln Borglum, of Mt.Rushmore fame.
This centuries-old chapel was where Fannin's men were held captive before they were massacred. The First Declaration of Texas Independence was signed inside the chapel on December 20, 1835. After the Texas Revolution of 1836, while other buildings of the Presidio fell into neglect and disrepair, the chapel was still used as a place of worship and at one time was temporarily used as a private residence.
Located in the heart of Texas.1 1/2 mile south of Goliad on Hwy. 183lies the only fully restored
Spanish Fort in existence in the United States!