The Mission San Juan Church and Compound
Construction of at least three different church buildings took place at the complex between the 1750s and 1786. In 1756, the first stone church, a friary, and a granary were completed. By 1762, 203 Indians lived at the Mission. Around 1762, the building of second church began. The construction of a third larger church started in 1775 but was abandoned in 1786, when a population decline and lack of labor left the church only half complete. Building of the current church commenced around 1786 and completed between 1790-91.
In the mid-1700s, Mission San Juan was a regional supplier of agricultural produce, including corn, beans, squash, sweet potatoes and sugar cane, grown in irrigated fields outside of the mission complex. In the surrounding gardens and orchards, the residents grew melons, pumpkins, grapes and peppers. San Juan established a trade network with the French settlements in Louisiana, other Spanish missions in Texas and villages in Mexico for its surplus produce. The Mission kept approximately 3,500 sheep and the same number of cattle just 20 miles away at Rancho de Pataguilla.
Mission San Juan was partially secularized in 1794 and the church became a sub-parish of Mission Espada until it was completely secularized in 1824. The active parish church was established in 1909. The Archdiocese of San Antonio performed additional rehabilitation in 1967 and continued projects for several decades. Today the compound includes the church with its three-bell campanario, the compound walls, foundations of some of the original Mission Indian living quarters, the granary building, the convento, a well, and a residence built on the property during the first half of the 1800s. The Mission also has a small museum. In 2012, water was restored to the historic San Juan Acequia, and in 2013, the first crop was sown on the original labores (farmland).