San Sabá Mission
Two miles west of Menard, off US-190 on the banks of the San Saba River, a cemetery and foundations of a few buildings are all that’s left of the Santa Cruz de San Sabá Mission. Established in 1757 as Spain’s northernmost outpost in the Apache and Comanche lands of what is now Texas, the mission was abandoned in 1768 after repeated Comanche attacks. Now in a county park next to a golf course along Hwy-29, the rebuilt chapel houses a small museum; portions of a later stone fort, named Real Presidio de San Sabá, also survive. A simple inscription, “BOWIE,” on the stone gate is thought to have been carved by Jim Bowie of Alamo fame. Bowie lived at the presidio ruins while searching for buried Spanish silver during the early 1800s.