Welcome to Presidio La Bahia. Presidio La Bahía is located one mile south of Goliad, Texas on U.S. Highway 183 (77A). Presidio La Bahia was established at this location in 1749, with Mission Espíritu Santo. It has been owned by the Catholic Church since 1853 and is currently operated by the Catholic Diocese of Victoria, Texas.
Presidio La Bahia is open 7 days a week except for major holidays. We accept cash, checks, Visa and MasterCard. Presidio La Bahia is the only fully restored Presidio in Texas and has the oldest active Catholic church in the state.
During the mid-1960s, the Kathryn Stoner O'Connor Foundation funded a restoration project under the direction of architect Raiford Stripling and archeologist Roland Beard. The fort was rebuilt to its 1836 appearance, based on documents and archeological evidence dating from the Texas Revolution. Presidio La Bahía was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1967.
One present significance of the Presidio is that it and the two missions constitute the only surviving example of a Spanish Colonial mission/presidio complex in Texas and one of very few in North America. The preservation of this relationship greatly enhances the visitors' understanding of the partnership between the Spanish Crown and the Catholic Church in colonizing the New World.
The Presidio chapel still serves as a community church. Visitors may tour the grounds and chapel and visit the Presidio's museum, which contains exhibits and cases of artifacts. The most popular annual event at the site is the Goliad Massacre Living History Program, a two-day reenactment of the battle of Coleto Creek and the subsequent execution of Colonel James W. Fannin and his troops.
Our Lady of Loreto Chapel at Presidio La Bahia has served the spiritual needs of Catholics - Spanish, Mexican, Texas, American, in turn - since 1779. Even today, mass services are held every Sunday at 5:00 p.m. at the Our Lady of Loreto Chapel.
Near the Presidio is the Fannin Memorial Monument. After the defeat of the Mexican army at the Battle of San Jacinto, as General Rusk and the Texas army was following the Mexican army out of Texas, when they arrived at Goliad, they gathered up the remains of Fannin and his men and buried them at a site to the southeast of Presidio La Bahia.
It took over 100 years for the State of Texas to erect a lasting monument to Colonel Fannin and his men. Funds were appropriated as part of the Texas Centennial celebration in 1936. The monument was erected and dedicated in 1938, and placed directly over the grave of the Goliad garrison. The monument, which is in fact a gravestone, contains the known names of the Goliad men and those killed at the battle of Coleto Creek on March 19, 1836. The relief carving show the Goddess of Liberty lifting a fallen soldier in chains.