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Texas Forts Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Menard: Presidio de San Saba


Presidio gates

A RUIN TWICE OVER

Presidio San Saba, once known as Presidio San Luis de las Amarillas, a fortress constructed in 1757 and designed to protect Spanish interests in the region, including nearby Mission Santa Cruz de San Saba. The Mission never survived long enough to benefit from the Presidio’s proximity (and firearms), burning to the ground during a raid by a band of neighboring tribes only a year after it was established. The Presidio only lasted another decade and a half, abandoned by decree of the Viceroy of New Spain in 1772. Over one hundred and fifty years later, the 1936 Texas Centennial Commission contracted the reconstruction of the Presidio in an effort to recapture the region’s past, and the northwest portion of the Presidio rose once again. Today, Menard is helping to preserve and interpret the archeological remains that surround this community. Travelers may observe the ruins of the Presidio reconstruction where archeologists have spent several years uncovering artifacts pertaining to the site and the Spanish Colonial period in Texas. Interpreters are on-hand to answer questions and guide visitors. The site sits on almost 18 acres along the San Saba River where the native landscape has been restored and picnic tables and a pavilion are inviting respite for family gatherings.  

Watch the video below to learn more about Spanish Settlement of Texas. This video was produced for inclusion in the Hispanic Texans mobile tour, more information about which may be found on our Hispanic heritage page at the following link: http://texastimetravel.com/travel-themes/main-hispanic-heritage


Location

  • 191 Presidio Rd.
  • Menard, Texas
  • 76859

Contact

Hours & Fees

  • Daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Free


Map


Presidio San Sabá, originally known as Presidio San Luis de las Amarillas, was constructed in April of 1757 by a Spanish force led by Captain Don Diego Ortiz Parilla. The presidio, which was subsidized by the Spanish crown, had a threefold purpose: to protect the nearby Mission Santa Cruz de San Sabá, to assess the validity of rumors of rich silver deposits in the area, and to guard the Spanish frontier against the threat of Indian encroachment. Both in physical size and number of troops, the Presidio was the largest and most important military installation in Texas for its time.  The fort's companion site of the Mission Santa Cruz de San Sabá was built a few miles downstream.

The presidio and its accompanying mission were the first place that Europeans in Texas came into conflict with the Comanche Indians and found that Plains Indians, mounted on Spanish horses and armed with French guns, constituted a fighting force superior to that of the Spanish colonials. The course of history was changed at the Mission and Presidio; eventually, the Spanish withdrew from the frontier creating other lines of defense along the Rio Grande.

Several archaeological digs have been conducted at this historic site and it has undergone significant restoration work.  The site includes a covered pavilion with restroom facilities.  Enjoy a picnic lunch or dinner on site and enjoy the beautiful surroundings while pondering what life would have been like as a Spanish soldier on the frontier!

 

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Read more about San Luis de las Amarillas Presidio in the Handbook of Texas Online.