I photographed the furthest south, and perhaps most humble, Mission San Francisco de la Espada sits among ranchitos, out in the shrubby brush at the edge of the city of San Antonio. Under heavy restoration, I had to take my photos through a chain-link fence.
There are all sorts of legends about the “broken arch,” but honestly, it perhaps shows the influence of the Baroque architect Francesco Borromini, who superimposed a triangle over three circles for the ground plan of his famous church of Sant’ Ivo alla Sapienza in Rome. I suspect that the architect of this church at one point saw, or heard about that church, and was influenced to create this door. I also see Moorish influence as well. Again, that simple, slightly naïve expression of devotion that creates such interesting architecture.
And yes, just like San Juan, they had big plans for an expansion, which never happened.
Most of the rest of the compound sits in ruins, quietly resting at the far end of the mission area.
There is an irrigation system nearby that served this mission.