Renovation work may begin later this year on one of the oldest and most historic religious structures in the Southwest.
The work will involve removing concrete plaster that was installed more than 60 years ago and has since captured moisture at the San Xavier Mission, located on Tohono O’odham Nation land, roughly 10 miles to the south of downtown Tucson.
Plans call for the 1950s plaster façade of the building’s east tower to be replaced with a lime-washed plaster mixed with cactus juice.
The work is expected to cost at least $3 million to complete, although the price tag could increase to $15 million if all of the Mission’s preservation needs are addressed.
Partial funding for the project is coming from the Philadelphia-based National Fund for Sacred Places.
With construction dating back to 1782, the Mission San Xavier is listed as a National Historic Landmark, attracting upwards of 200,000 visitors annually.
Popularly known as the “White Dove of the Desert,” the mission’s exterior is Moorish-inspired with white stucco details.
By Garry Boulard
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