Monday, February 1, 2010

Mission San Gabriel

This mission was founded in 1771, it was fourth in the chain of twenty-one missions started by Father Serra at the direction of King Charles III of Spain.  This mission has some beautiful gardens where the museum has kept some of its old ruins. It still has the foundation, floor and vats of the winery it once owned. It also has the four brick furnaces used to make soap for all the missions. An inventory taken in 1834 showed that the mission had four vineyards, nine orchards, 12,303 head of cattle, one ship, four cannons, and 1,323 souls. That was only the major items on the list, they also had herds of sheep, and other animals.  Work was done by the native Indians. The mission was desecularized in 1834 and turned over to civil administration. The Mexican government thought that the mission should be more about the business of saving souls. Below is a picture of the baptistry with its original doomed ceiling,floor and walls. That is the original hand hammered baptismal font brought from Spain  in 1771.

On the side of the mission is the bell tower. This is the only one of the missions with six bells.
The whole area surrounding the mission is considered the historic area of the town of San Gabriel. While we were there two different wedding parties were taking photos and a movie company was shooting a scene( that was quite interesting to watch, they were filming a young  lad running alongside the church with some bread in his hands). Next to the mission is a historic playhouse which I have pictured here. This whole area does makes for some very photogenic settings.

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