The San Gabriel Mission

Nov 04, 2010 by Lisa Newton

Some of the most visited historical sites in California are the old Spanish missions that dot the Pacific coast line.

With a total of 21 different missions, the closest one to the Los Angeles area is the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel. Visiting here is stepping back in time to the place where the humble beginnings of California started.

Originally built circa 1791 to 1805, the Mission Church is made with cut stone, brick, and mortar, and is the oldest structure of its kind south of Monterey.

Designed by Father Antonio Cruzado of Córdoba, Spain, the Mission’s Moorish architectural, is evidenced by its capped buttresses and tall, narrow windows.

Due to damage sustained from the 1987 Whittier earthquake, during 1987 to 1993, the structure was fully restored.

The mission system arose in part from the need to control Spain’s ever-expanding holdings in the New World. Realizing that the colonies would require a literate population base that the mother country could not supply, the government (with the cooperation of the Church) established a network of missions with the goal of converting the natives to Christianity; the aim was to make converts and taxpaying citizens of the indigenous peoples they conquered. Source: Wikipedia

Actually, the San Gabriel Mission is still an operational Catholic Church, respite with baptisms, weddings, and Sunday masses.

It’s open daily from 9:00am to 4:30pm and the grounds feature operations from the original mission complex, including indoor and outdoor kitchens, a winery, water cisterns, soap and candle vats, tanning vats for preparing cattle hides, and a cemetery.

If you’re interested in learning more about the California Missions, this map has a little snippet for each one:

View Larger Map

Be that as it may, obviously the best way to enjoy and learn about history at the same time is to actually see it.

Here’s an ensemble of photographs that I took while at the San Gabriel Mission. For a larger view of each photo, just click it:

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