Despite the fact that the the Texian Army chanted both "Remember the Alamo!" and "Remember Goliad!" at the Battle of San Jacinto, a great many Texans have since forgotten Goliad. At least more so than the Alamo... At any rate, the hapless Colonel James Fannin's one-time garrison is perhaps the most beautiful of all the Spanish structures in Texas, lovelier even than all those missions in San Antonio.

West entrance to the Quarters.

While the San Antonio missions are churches with some fort-like qualities, Presidio Nuestra Senora de Loreto de la Bahia is a fort with a chapel in it. On its present location since 1749, La Bahia is today the oldest standing fort west of the Mississippi; it was already old when Fannin's dithering and indecision cost him his life and those over 340 of his men, most of whom were slaughtered after surrendering to a Mexican force they believed would give them quarter. 

Another difference between La Bahia and the Alamo and the other SA missions is that you can actually spend the night in La Bahia. Yep, you can get a room there. 

Actually two rooms... When the fort/church was renovated in the 1960s, builders installed a two-bedroom apartment/kitchenette to serve as a rectory for the chapel's priests. The padres have since moved on, and now, for $200 a night, you can rent the somewhat spartan suite (no TV or Internet but who needs either when you've got a working fireplace?) and soak in the heavy vibes of one of Texas's oldest buildings and spookiest places. (While most of Fannin's men were gunned down outside the walls, Fannin himself and several dozen of his men were gunned down right outside the doors of the Quarters.) There's a master bedroom and a second bedroom with two singles.

And when the historic park closes to visitors around 4:45 p.m., guests of the Quarters are given the run of the entire grounds. (Only the interiors are off-limits.) Most of the presidio is yours for the night -- you can stalk the battlements, play with the cannon, pretend you are blindfolded and smoking your last cigarette before being shot against the wall like Fannin...It really is a unique opportunity and one that should have pride of place on every Texas history lover's bucket list. 

Weekends tend to fill up far in advance, but the rooms can sometimes be had mid-week on a whim. Check for availability here. And if you go, at the stroke of the midnight, while the winds sigh through the palms, watch out for this guy: 

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