The National Register of Historic Places-listed Mission Parkway Historic District encompasses most of the Mission Trails hike-and-bike trail alignment and includes a variety of historic resources including archeological sites, buildings, and structures. These resources date from the prehistoric period through the early twentieth century. In particular, the district includes the four southern missions (Mission Nuestra Señora de la Purísma Concepción de Acuña, Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo, Mission San Juan Capistrano, and Mission San Francisco de la Espada), their acequia systems and agricultural fields, a number of prehistoric and historic archeological sites, and select historic buildings and structures including Stinson Airport, the Yturri-Edmunds House, and dwellings formerly associated with the historic neighborhoods around the missions. The wide variety of resources represented reflects San Antonio’s diverse history as well as the evolution of its historic landscape over the preceding centuries (Clark et al 1975).
Though impacted by modern development in many areas, sections of the district, particularly near the San Antonio River and the mission complexes, still retain some of their historic integrity and provide visitors with a sense of what the landscape would have looked like during the Mission era. In particular, some areas of the district are still divided into long lots (known historically as labores) fronting onto the San Antonio River or onto an acequia. Though no longer in cultivation, the land subdivisions and boundary demarcations, which often include lateral acequias or irrigation ditches, are reminiscent of historic land use patterns in the area. When viewed in association with the iconic Spanish-Colonial era structures, visitors of the Mission Trails hike-and-bike trail corridor are provided with a vivid picture of how early San Antonio formed and how significant its Spanish Colonial history was to the creation of the modern city’s landscape. Additional information regarding the Mission Parkway Historic District can be found on the City of San Antonio’s Historic Preservation Office website.