Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción, Socorro, Texas

Spanish and Piro Indian refugees fleeing the Pueblo Revolt founded the village of Socorro del Sur in 1680. The new community soon erected a church building of jacal construction. By 1744 a larger, permanent church was built. Beautiful vigas painted with flowers and geometric designs supported the roof. In 1829, devastating floods destroyed the church, but parishioners were able to salvage many of the vigas and corbels. The nave of the present structure, La Purísima, was dedicated in 1843. The bell wall, sanctuary and transepts, and right sacristy and mortuary were added by 1887.

Unfortunately, in the twentieth century the exterior of the church was cement plastered and a concrete collar was installed. Trapped moisture, aggravated by a leaking roof, damaged the walls and rotted the ends of several vigas and corbels. The west wall began to slump. In 1999, Cornerstones’ Pat Taylor helped complete a preservation plan describing the history of La Purísima, the current condition of the building, and the work needed to stabilize it and restore its original beauty. The preservation process has included making 20,000 adobe bricks to replace damaged adobes in the foundation, walls, and roof parapets. Extensive structural repairs and interior mud and lime plastering have been completed. The restoration is now in its final phase that includes interior finish details, and front façade/bell tower repairs. In November 2004, the site received a Save America’s Treasures appropriation award. Preservation is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2005.

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