In 1789, the Spanish established a presidio, military garrison, named “San Elceario” after the French patron saint of the military, San Elcear. Built within that presidio was an officers quarters, barracks, a chapel and other buildings protected by thick adobe walls.
This presidio was established to defend the Spanish frontier against foreign powers and Indian raids as well as protect the supply lines of communication. The presidio’s purpose evolved during the War of Independence as Spanish troops abandoned it and local settlers occupied the presidio.
In 1829, the flood destroyed the chapel and a new building was erected in the 1840’s. This building eventually become too small therefore the present day church was built between 1877-1887 to accommodate the growing population.
In 1935, an electrical fire caused smoke damage to the church. The church was repainted and the distinctive press tin ceiling was added. After World World II, the community repainted the back wall of the chapel with a memorial in efforts to honor the town’s veterans.
Currently, the presidio chapel continues to be an active church as well as the distinctive focal point in the San Elizario Historic District.
1556 San Elizario Rd.
San Elizario, Texas 79849