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.

Back
Main California Page
Main U. S. Page
Previous Mission
By Founding Date
Next Mission
Previous Mission
South to North
Next Mission
California Main Page/Map
First Asistencia

#18, San Luis Rey de Francia

Founded June 13, 1798
by Father Fermin Lasuen.
San Luis Rey.

Personal Observations

I have visited Mission San Luis Rey three times, all within a thirteen month period. We first visited on my wife's birthday in 2002. We stopped again early one morning a year later on the way to San Diego and the mission wasn't yet open for the day. We returned again two weeks later on a trip that included the two asistencia missions in San Diego County. The mission is on an open site and easily visible from State Highway 76. Continuing east about 30 miles along Highway 76 will take you to Mission Pala, Mission San Louis Rey's asistencia.
Photo-Art
Mission Art & Photo-Art

History

Mission San Luis Rey is referred to as the King of the Missions because of it's size, the mission was the largest building in California. It was named after St. Louis IX, King of France. It was founded on June13th, 1798 by Father Fermin Lasuen. Fifty-four Indians were baptized on that day. Father Antonio Peyri administered Mission San Luis Rey from the day of its founding until his departure in January 1832. In July, construction of the first permanent structure began.

The mission was self-sustaining, its buildings were constructed of local materials, such as adobe, fired clay bricks and wooden timbers.

The mission's agricultural assets included over 50,000 head of livestock. A large part of the mission lands was devoted to Grapes, oranges, olives, wheat, and corn. Irrigation water was channeled from the river just north of the mission. Mission San Luis Rey had reached it's highest prosperity by 1818. It had six outlying ranches including Pala, Santa Margarita, San Jacinto, Santa Ysabel, Temecula, and San Pedro. San Luis Rey eventually established Mission San Antonio de Pala as an asistencia mission about 20 miles east. An asistencia mission was an extension or sub-mission and Mission San Antonio de Pala was one of two extension missions in the San Diego District.

Father Peyri planted some South American seeds which sprouted into the first pepper trees in California. One of these trees still grows in the west enclosure (pictured below).

The church measured 30 feet by 189 feet. It was constructed adobe and faced with burnt brick. The mortuary chapel is considered unique.

Following secularization, Mission San Luis Rey came under the control of various administrators, several of whom acquired personal title to mission lands, leaving little for the intended Luisenos. The U.S. military used Mission San Luis Rey as a base of operations from 1847-1857. When California became part of the United States in 1850, the Catholic Bishop of California petitioned the U.S. government for the return of the missions. The mission was returned to the Catholic Church in 1865 by Abraham Lincoln, but it remained abandoned until 1892.

In 1892 a group of Franciscans from Zacatecas, Mexico, seeking refuge in California, were assigned to San Luis Rey under the guidance of Father Joseph Jeremias O'Keefe. Father O'Keefe has been referred to as the rebuilder of the mission, as he oversaw from 1892 to 1912, repair of the church and rebuilding of the permanent living quarters on the foundations of the old mission. Restoration has continued since Father O'Keefe's death. The quadrangle was partially rebuilt in 1949 to use as a Franciscan college which serves today as a Retreat Center. During the 1950's and 60's the Friars uncovered the soldiers barracks and the lavanderia, hidden over the years by dirt and debris. In 1984 a restoration effort to stabilize and preserve the exterior of the church building was completed. There is an ongoing conservation of paintings and sculptures. Archaeological investigations continue.

Address and Directions

4050 Mission Avenue
San Luis Rey, CA 92068

Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is located near the cities of San Luis Rey, Oceanside, and Carlsbad, on State Highway 76, about five miles east of I-5. You can see the mission from State Highway 76. Turn noth on Rancho Del Oro Drive.

Photography Gallery

San Luis Rey de Francia
Front of church. Photo date: 1-10-04.
San Luis Rey de Francia
Church. Photo date: 12-30-02.
San Luis Rey
Mission
Main Page
Grounds
Grounds
Church
Church
image pending
Other Buildings
Pepper Tree
Pepper Tree
image pending
Exhibits
image pending
Cemetery
Lavanderia
Lavanderia
San Luis Rey de Francia
Front. Photo date: 1-10-04.
San Luis Rey de Francia
Front. Photo date: 1-10-04.
Church
Church. Photo date: 1-24-04.
Fountain
Front and fountain. Photo date: 1-24-04.
Cemetery Wall
Cemetery wall with church beyond. Photo date: 1-10-04.
San Luis Rey de Francia
Front with bell in foreground. Photo date: 1-10-04.
San Luis Rey de Francia
Front. In 1830, this was the largest building in California. Photo date: 12-30-02.
San Luis Rey de Francia
Front. Photo date: 12-30-02.

Statue in church facade. Photo date: 1-24-04.

Bell Tower. Photo date: 1-24-04.
San Luis Rey de Francia
Baptismal. Photo date: 12-30-02.
Flag Pole
Flag pole and entrance to cemetery. Photo date: Photo date: 1-24-04.
Statue
Statue, Jesus carrying cross. Photo date: 1-24-04.
Pepper Tree
Old wall and first pepper tree in California. Photo date: 1-24-04.
Pepper Tree
Old wall and first pepper tree in California. Photo date: 12-30-02.
Pepper Tree
Pepper tree. Photo date: 1-24-04
Pepper Tree
Pepper tree. Photo date: 1-24-04
Lavanderia
Lavanderia. Largest of the missions. Photo date: 12-30-02.
Lavanderia
Lavanderia. Largest of the missions. Photo date: 1-24-04.
Lavanderia
Lavanderia. Photo date: 1-24-04.
Lavanderia
Lavanderia. Photo date: 1-24-04.
Lavanderia
Lavanderia. Photo date: 1-24-04.
Lavanderia
Lavanderia. Photo date: 1-24-04.
Unrestored
Unrestored buildings. Photo date: 1-24-04.
Unrestored
Unrestored buildings. Photo date: 1-24-04.
links here

Sources:

Back
Main California Page
Main U. S. Page
Previous Mission
By Founding Date
Next Mission
Previous Mission
South to North
Next Mission
California Main Page/Map
First Asistencia
Top US Page Back
This page last updated: Sunday, 11-Aug-2013 02:33:44 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.

Support this Web Site

I hope that you find this web site helpful. It started because of my love for the California Missions and interest in History. I don't allow paid advertising (but this may change). This web site is for your benefit and enjoyment and I make no profit on it. For ten years it has been supported primarily from my regular paycheck as a Set Designer and there haven't been many the last few years. I can no longer run it without help. Alternative funding is needed. A non-tax deductable donation helps cover the cost of operating this web site and may be made to Kesign Design Consulting through PayPal.

Buy my Photographs or Art.
My Art

Or donations can be mailed to the address on the contact page.
If you are in the need of a designer, please see my portfolio site www.kesigndesign.com.
Kesign Design Consulting
or Set Design Portfolio.

Links

Web Design This site maintained by Kenneth A. Larson.
Copyright © 2004 - 2013, Kenneth A. Larson. All Rights Reserved.
Website content including photographic and graphic images may not be redistributed for use on another website.
Please Don't Pirate Videos
Valid HTML 5 Transitional Valid CSS!