March 2, 2020

Mission San Xavier in Tucson to undergo preservation project

Workers will spend the next two years replacing problematic plaster around the structure’s centuries-old brick walls.

San_Xavier The San Xavier del Bac Mission, January 2009.
Christopher Conover/AZPM

Mission San Xavier in Tucson is set to undergo its biggest preservation project in more than a decade.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that scaffolding could go up by late fall around the iconic church’s east tower. Workers will spend the next two years carefully removing and replacing problematic plaster around the structure’s centuries-old brick walls.

The nonprofit Patronato San Xavier has overseen preservation and fundraising for Arizona’s oldest intact European structure since 1978.

During the 1940s and 1950s, the mission’s well-meaning stewards covered the building with concrete plaster. But decades later, caretakers discovered that moisture trapped by the plaster was being drawn by gravity through the building, damaging the walls and interior.

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