Rancho San Fulano

“I don’t see why in the name of common sense,” I can remember saying testily, “no Californian can give you directions that can be followed. That fellow at Capistrano said it was a straight road and we couldn’t possibly get off it, and now look at this!” All the sunny afternoon we had driven cheerfully, […]

Franciscan Missions

IT is the fashion nowadays to call it by its old Spanish name, El Camino Real—the King’s Highway—and to travel it, if one travels it at all, by motor-car, making the run from San Diego to Los Angeles between a late breakfast and an early tea; then to Santa Barbara in another day, and on […]

San Luis Rey, Guajome And Pala

From San Fulano, it was but a short drive into the pretty valley of the San Luis Rey river, where on a little sunny knoll in the midst of a fertile farming country, stands another Mission associated with “Ramona,” the Mission San Luis Rey. This, in its heyday, was perhaps the largest and richest—temporally speaking—of […]

California Missions – Indians Under The Padres

THE first consideration of the padres in dealing with the Indians was the salvation of their souls. Of this no honest and honorable man can hold any question. Serra and his coadjutors believed, without equivocation or reserve, the doctrines of the Church. As one reads Serra’s diary, his thought on this matter is trans-parent. In […]

California Missions – Secularization Of The Missions

IT was not the policy or intention of the government of Spain to found Missions in the New World solely for the benefit of the natives. Philanthropic motives doubtless influenced the rulers to a certain degree ; but to civilize barbarous peoples and convert them to the Catholic faith meant not only the rescue of […]

California Missions – San Diego De Alcala

THE story of the founding of San Diego by Serra has already been given. It was the beginning of the realization of his fondest hopes. The early troubles with the Indians delayed conversions, but in 1773 Serra reported that some headway had been made. He gives the original name of the place as Cosoy, in […]

California Missions – San Carlos Borbomeo

A BRIEF account of the founding of San Carlos at Monterey, June 3, 1770, was given in an earlier chapter. What joy the discovery of the harbor and founding of the Mission caused in Mexico and Spain can be understood when it is remembered that for two centuries this thing had been desired. In the […]

California Missions – San Antonio De Padua

THE third Mission of the series was founded in honor of San Antonio de Padua, July 14, 1771, by Serra, accompanied by Padres Pieras and Sit jar. One solitary Indian heard the dedicatory mass, but Serra’s enthusiasm knew no bounds. He was assured that this ” first fruit of the wilderness ” would go forth […]

California Missions – San Gabriel, Arcangel

WE have already seen that San Gabriel, the fourth Mission, was founded September 8, 1771. The natives gave cheerful assistance in bringing timber, erecting the wooden buildings, covering them with tules, and constructing the stockade enclosure which surrounded them. They also brought offerings of acorns and pinenuts. In a few days so many of them […]

California Missions – Distinctive Features Of Mission Architecture

THE broader knowledge we gain of the Franciscan Mission structures, the greater becomes our respect for their architects and builders. Their boldness, originality, and diversity at once please and instruct us. It is not my purpose, in this chapter, to analyze all the varied forms of the Mission architecture, or to discuss technically the successes […]