U. S. Mission Trail / The Mission Trail Today - The Spanish Missions in California
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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.
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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. An inventory of Mission assets at the time it was secularization in November 1834 reads:
1 weaving room with 4 looms of wool
1 room for making brandy with 4 stills
1 room for pressing grapes with 3 wine presses
1 forge for smithy
1 structure for making soap and tallow for candles
2 water mills, 1 a half league distant, El Molino Viego and 1 in front of the mission, Chapman Mill.
163,578 vines in 4 vineyards
2,333 fruit trees in 9 orchards
12,980 head of cattle, 6,548 sheep, 2,938 horses, cattle on loan 4,443 head.
227 volumes in the Library of the Franciscans
Indian population of Mission, 1,323 within Mission District and Ranch San Bernardino
Assets o Mission: 11,154.12 reales
Debt of Mission: 8,271.75 reales
Artillery belonging to Mission:
2 canones de a 4 mortales en medias
1 canon de fierro de a 2
3 pedreros de fierro de a 2
1 canon de a 4
(prestado al ayuntamiento de Los Angeles)

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

Church
Church. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Church Interior
Church inerior. Photo date: 2-16-04.
San Gabriel
Mission
Main Page
First Site
First Site
Grounds
Grounds
Church
Church
Other Buildings
Other Buildings
Exhibits
Exhibits
Cemetery
Cemetery
Mission Models
Mission Models
Surrounding Area
Surrounding Area
El Molino
El Molino


First Location

Wide shot of the site. There is not much more than a marker.
Marker at the origianl site.

Bell.


Grounds



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.
A garden area at the back of the quadrangle.

Fountain Fountain
Fountain.

Fountain Fountain
Fountain.

Aqueduct
Aqueduct. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Aqueduct.

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.

Soap and tallow vats. Mission San Gabriel once supplied soap and candles to most of the other missions.

These are the original Tannery Vats built in the Franciscan era, about 1771-1843. These vats were filled with a water and tanning (oak) bark solution and then hides from cattle were soaked to preserve them. The Gabrielenos would remove the hides and pound and scrape to remove the hair. Cattle were not raised for meat but for hides, the main export. These vats were excavated in 1902 by Father Resa, C.M.F.


The abck area of the quadrangle.

The abck area of the quadrangle.


Cactus in the garden toward the back.

Looking at the bell tower from the garden.


Cooking area and aquiduct.

This Cannon was lost and in 1914, found in a nearby river bed after a flood. It was restored. It was rededicated in 2009.


Tile in the walkway near the front of the Church.



Church



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.

Bell Tower
Bell tower from garden side. Photo date: 2-16-04.


Front facade.

Front facade.


Scars of the old buttress wall.


Light fixture.

Baptismal.


Church interior, altar.

Front facade.


Area behind the altar.

Stairs leading to bells.

The exterior of the long side of the church.

Corner of church.


The Bell tower.

Father Junipero Serra who founded the early Missions in California.

Other Buildings


Priest Quarters
Priest quarters.Photo date: 2-16-04.

Wine Making Room
Wine making room. Photo date: 2-16-04.
Mission San Gabriel once supplied wine to the other Missions.

This is a replica of the original Kitchen which was built by the Franciscans and Gabrielinos. The original was destroyed by fire long ago. Father Ramoń Catalań C. M. F. began the rebuildin in 1936 with help from Pablo, Cayetano, and Efran.

Replica of the original Kitchen.


The newer church currently in use.


Exterior of the new church with statue in foreground and cemetery beyond.

Interior of new church.

Museum and Exhibits



The exterior of the museum, but enter from the Mission Quadrangle.







cemetery

The Camposanto (Cemetery) was used for burials from 1778 to 1865 and archives suggest that 6,000 Neophytes were interred here during that period. The cemetery was first consecrated in 1778, three years after the Mission was moved to this site. The Cemetery was rededicated January 29, 1939. The Cemetery had been sued for the burial of Padres and Bretheren of San Gabriel Mission since 1939. Seven of the early Franciscan Fathers are interred in front of the altar within the chapel.

The Camposanto.

The Camposanto.

The Camposanto.

The Camposanto.


The newer Cemetery now in use.


Gate to the new cemetery.

Saint Anthony Mary Claret.

The currently used cemetery.


The currently used cemetery.

Misson Models


These models were built as a WPA project during the depression.
Mission models
Mission models: San Diego, San Carlos, San Antonio, San Gabriel.
Mission models
Mission models: San Gabriel, San Lous Obispo, San Francisco de Asis, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Clara.

Mission models
Mission models: Santa Clara, San Buenaventura, Santa Barbara, La Purisima, Santa Cruz, Nuestra Sanora de la Soledad.
Mission models
Mission models: Santa Cruz, Nuestra Sanora de la Soledad, San Jose, San Juan Batista, San Miguel, San Fernando, San Luis Rey, Santa Inez, San Rafiel.
Mission models
Mission models: San Luis Rey, Santa Inez, San Rafiel, San Francisco Salono.
Mission models
Mission models: Santa Barbara, La Purisima, Santa Cruz, Nuestra Sanora de la Soledad, San Jose, San Juan Batista, San Miguel, San Fernando, San Luis Rey.
Mission models
Mission models: Nuestra Sanora de la Soledad, San Jose, San Juan Batista, San Miguel, San Fernando, San Luis Rey, Santa Inez, San Rafiel.
Mission models
Mission models: San Diego, San Carlos, San Antonio, San Gabriel, San Lous Obispo, San Francisco de Asis, San Juan Capistrano.



Surounding Area


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.

El Molino



Link to El Molino Web Age
El Molino Viejo (The Old Mill) links here

Sources:

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This page last updated: Thursday, 22-Jun-2017 07:35:08 EDT
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