U. S. Mission Trail / The Mission Trail Today - The Spanish Missions in California
Slide Show This site is owned, designed, and operated by Kenneth A. Larson who has over a quarter century of experience in design and construction of scenery for the Entertainment Industry and Theme Parks using Computer Aided and Traditional approaches to Design. Ken also has experience in other areas of Design.
Select photographs of my many visits to The Missions of the United States South and Southwest built by Spain and Mexico between 1565 and 1823.
All photographs taken by Kenneth A. Larson. All rights reserved. © 2008 - 2013.

Explanation.

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#1, San Diego de Alcalá

Founded July 16, 1769
by Father Junipero Serra.
San Diego.


Personal Observations

This mission holds a special place for me as I always wanted to attend mass at a mission and San Diego was the first time I was able to do so. The first time I visited this mission was so long ago, I can't remember much. These photos are from two recent visits in 2002 and 2004. The visit in 2002, we were pressed for time, but in 2004 we
Photo-Art
Mission Art & Photo-Art
took the time to explore more. In the 2004 visit, we also drove about six miles north to see the mission dam. A few photos here were take nduring a quick stop in 2005. In 2004, and 2005, we visited the original mission site on Presidio Hill. While being the first mission built in California, San Diego is not currently the largest and the design is simpler than some later missions.

History

San Diego de Alcalá was the first mission built in Alto California. It was established on Presidio Hill near modern day Old Town on July 16, 1769. Later it moved six miles east because of conflicts between the native people and the soldiers at the Presidio. Following an attack on the mission in 1775, it returned to Presidio Hill for eight months, then returned in the summer of 1776 to the second location and rebuilt the church and other buildings. It has been there ever since. Most of the adobe buildings were destroyed by earthquakes in the early 1800s. The structures were rebuilt and in 1812, buttress wings were added.

The Native Americans were slow to accept the Spanish. In November 1776, 800 men from various tribes attacked, burned, and looted the mission at the second location. Eight months later, the mission was rebuilt as a full quadrangle, larger than the original.

Because the land was difficult to till and the water was not always plentiful, San Diego de Alcalá was always one of the poorest. In time the mission became more prosperous and 1797 was its most successful year. The mission controledl 50,000 acres. Agricultural products included corn, wheat, barley, kidney beans and chick peas, wine grapes, and vegetables. The mission owned 20,000 sheep, 10,000 cattle, and 1250 horses.

Following secularization in 1834, the building were sold and fell into disrepair. The US Army occupied the site from 1850-1862, using the church as a stable. The mission and 22 acres were returned to the Catholic church in 1862. By the early 1920s all that remained were portions of the walls adjoining the buttresses, the campanario, and baptistry. Restoration began in 1931 at which time only a facade was still standing. The mission is still in use as a parish. It is one of three missions that is a basilica.
Usually two priests were assigned to a mission, one in charge of administration, the other responsible for the religious education of the indigenous people.

San Diego de Alcalá eventually established Mission Santa Ysabel as an asistencia mission about 60 miles north-east. An asistencia mission was an extension or sub-mission and Mission Santa Ysabel was one of two extension missions in the San Diego District.


Address and Directions


10818 San Diego Mission Road
San Diego CA

San Diego de Alcala is about six miles east of Old Town San Diego.
From Interstate 8: Exit I-8 at Mission Gorge Road north, turn left at Twain which becomes San Diego Mission Road.
From Interstate 15: Exit I-15 at Friars Road east, turn right at Rancho Mission Road, left on San Diego Mission Road.

The mission is open daily and regular masses are celebrated.

Photography Gallery

Church Exterior
Front. Fifth church. 1-11-04.
Church Interior
Church. 1-11-04.
San Diego
Mission
Main Page
Grounds
Grounds
Church
Church
Other Buildings
Other Buildings
Exhibits
Exhibits
Archeological Excavation
Archeological Excavation
Garden
Garden
Mission Dam
Mission Dam
Surrounding Area
Surrounding Area
Original Site - Presidio Hill
Original Site
Presidio Hill

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This page last updated: Sunday, 11-Aug-2013 02:25:53 EDT
Note:This is not the official site for any of the places shown in US Mission Trail. US Mission Trail is not responsible for accuracy of the information. Hours of operations, prices, and exhibits are subject to change without notice.

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