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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#4, San Gabriel Arcángel

Founded September 8, 1771
by Father Pedro Cambon and
Father Angel Somera.
San Gabriel.

Personal Observations

The first time I visited Mission San Gabriel was in 1978 during the only real vacation time from work I've ever had. I took my wife while we were still dating in 2001 and again in 2004. This mission is the second
Photo-Art
Mission Art & Photo-Art
closest to my home, after San Fernando. It is still a vital part of the community and is an active parish. A large newer church and a cemetery are adjacent. Mission San Gabriel Arcángel is of an average size. The long south facade of the church is probably it's most recognized feature. What remains is roughly an L shape with the church, bell tower, and some shops making up one side. This L encloses a garden with the new church to the north and gift shop completing a quadrangle. One unusual feature of the garden is a row of miniature missions built in the 1930s. The Spanish revival San Gabriel Civic Auditorium, on which I assisted in the restoration, is across the street.

History

San Gabriel Arcángel was the fourth mission founded in Alta California. It was approximately midway between Mission San Diego and Mission San Antonio de Padua, then making it the only mission in 300 miles. San Gabriel Arcángel was founded September 8, 1771 by Father Pedro Cambon and Father Angel Somera. A somewhat controversial marker may or may not be located at the original site about four miles south of the current location. The Misssion was moved to its present location in 1775. It was named for Gabriel, God's messenger angel. Nine miles west of Mission San Gabriel, a small pueblo was founded in 1781 named el pueblo de la reina de nuestra senora de los angeles de Porciuncula, or The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angeles of Porciuncula, which has since been shortened to Los Angeles or even, LA.

San Gabriel Arcángel was one of the most prosperous missions. Because of its location at the cross roads for travelers traveling north and south between Mexico and Alto California and later east and west, it hosted many travelers and soldiers, many of which were disruptive to the work of the missionaries.

The mission produced more wheat than any other mission, along with corn and beans. Tallow and soap were major products produced thanks to large herds of cattle. The oldest grape vine, planted in 1826, still grows at the mission. Mission San Gabriel was the winery for all the missions and the largest winery in California.

The unique mosque-like church was begun in 1779, but not completed until 1805. Built of cut stone, brick, and mortar, it is the oldest structure if its type south of Monterey. Father Antonio Cruzado designed the church and the design was influenced by the architecture of his native Cordova, Spain.

As with many missions, earthquakes are part of the history. An earthquake in 1804 damaged the original vaulted roof and ceiling. The roof was replaced with a flat roof of brick and mortar which was damaged by an earthquake in 1812. Earthquakes continued to play havoc with the mission and as recently as 1987, the mission was again damaged by an earthquake.

Following the secularization in 1834, the mission and lands were taken away from the church. When the mission was returned to the Franciscans in 1843, little was left and most of the buildings were damaged beyond use. The Catholic Church regained the property in 1859.

The Mission had an asistencia Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles in the Pueblo that became Los Angeles. The Mission also had an outlying ranch, or Estancia, in modern-day Redlands which is now refered to as Asistencia San Bernardino.

The El Molino Viejo (The Old Mill) was built about 1816 as a gristmill supporting Mission San Gabriel Arcángel.

Address and Directions

537 West Mission Drive
San Gabriel, CA 91776

From Interstate 10
Exit Del Mar Avenue or New Avenue north and refer to map.

From Interstate 210:
Sierra Madre Boulevard south
Sierra Madre Boulevard becomes Marino Avenue as it crosses Huntinton Drive. Continue south on Marino Avenue.
At fork in the road, stay left Marino Avenue.
Turn right onto Junipero Serra Drive.
Right turn into mission parking lot.

Map
Click for a map.

Photography Gallery

First Location

Church
Church. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Church Interior
Church inerior. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Front
Front. 8-11-01.
Front
Front and statue. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Former Bell Tower
The scars of a lost bell tower. The tower was built in 1775 and destroyed by earthquake in 1812. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Former Bell Tower
The scars of a lost bell tower. It was replaced by a new bell tower at the other end of the church. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Bells
Bells. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Bells
Bells. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Church Interior
Church interior. The alter was built in Mexico City and brought to the mission in 1790. The polychrome statues were carved in Spain. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Church Interior
Church interior. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Church Interior
Original Pulpit. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Church Interior
Church interior. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Altar Rail
Altar rail, note how it's only round in front. Photo date: 2-16-04.
San Gabriel Arcangel
Front. 4-21-78.
Front
Front. 8-11-01.
Wine Making Room
Wine making room. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Priest Quarters
Priest quarters.Photo date: 2-16-04.
Grape Arbor
Grape Arbor. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Grape Arbor
Grape Arbor. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Grape Vine
Grape Arbor. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Garden
Garden. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Garden
Garden. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Bell Tower
Bell tower from garden side. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Fountain
Fountain. 4-21-78.
Aqueduct
Aqueduct. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Shrine
Shrine. 4-21-78.
Cactus
Cactus in the garden with new church to right. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Work Area
Photo date: 2-16-04.
Work Area
Photo date: 2-16-04.
Soap and tallow vats. Mission San Gabriel once supplied soap and candles to most of the other missions.


This structure is across the street from the Mission at the corner of the San Gabriel Civic Auditorium. The sign describes the first grape vine beyond. It is the site of the now demolished Grapevine Adobe. Santa Anita Avenue and Mission Drive, San Gabriel, CA.
links here

Sources:

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This page last updated: Sunday, 11-Aug-2013 02:30:35 EDT
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