San Francisco – Everyday Insider (TM) – Trip 25

Misión San Francisco de Asís, the oldest building in San Francisco, is still a functioning Catholic church. Since the time when it formed the real heart of the colonial community, the structure of the Mission has been lovingly preserved.

You will find it as Mission Delores, (referring to the nearby creek Our Lady of Sorrows – which was named by Spanish pioneer Senor Anza). And, the church was started only days before the American Revolution.

Founded June 29, 1776, it began like a Jewish wedding canopy, as just a larger version of tule reed and sticks, then graduated to being made of adobe brick and plaster — which is what you see today.

Lieut. Jose Joaquin Moraga with a little band of Spanish soldiers and colonists, left the Monterey Presidio on June 17, 1776, heading for San Francisco bay to establish both a presidio and a mission there.

Franciscans Father Francisco Palou and Father Pedro Cambon accompanied the expedition and are the founders of the mission.

On the day of the colonist’s arrival, the commander ordered an enramada (arbor) to be constructed which was to serve as a chapel for celebrating the holy sacrifice of the mass. On an altar erected the first holy mass on June 29, 1776 which was the feast of the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul.

Now, Mission Dolores has the only intact original Chapel in the chain of 21 established California missions founded under the direction of Franciscan Father Junipero Serra (1713-1784).

San Francisco’s history played out witnessed by the Mission – including the California Gold Rush and the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.

The Mission’s Cemetery is the only one which remains within the City limits, and it is the final resting place for Ohlone and Miwok Native Americans, as well as other First Californians and notable California pioneers.

Amazingly, 5,000 Ohlone, Miwok, and other First Californians (who built Mission Dolores and were its earliest members and founders) are buried there.

These gentle California Native American tribes welcomed their “invaders”, and over time, lost their lives to the massive diseases the Europeans brought with them.

Wandering there, I was struck by how young the people were when they died. You can glean an amazing amount from the headstones, and even though cemeteries are not my “thing”, it was interesting to visit such an old place, once.

The beautiful gardens have been restored by volunteers and they are now filled with traditional native trees, shrubs, flowers and plants from the 1791 period.

You can also see an Ohlone Indian ethno-botanic garden and examples of Native American plants and artifacts.

The historic church was completed in 1791.

Open daily
except Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year’s Day

• 9am-4:30pm, May 1-Oct 31
• 9am-4pm, Nov 1-Apr 30
• 9am-noon, Good Friday
• 10am-1pm, Easter Sunday

Suggested Donation
• Adult, $5
• Senior Citizen, $3
• Student, $3

3321 Sixteenth Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 621-8203

San Francisco Archive

©2010 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

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