Father Junipero Serra founded the first of California’s 21 missions on Sunday July 16, 1769 in the Presidio near what is now Old Town State Park.
With the lack of water and poor access to the native population the Basilica was relocated to its present location along the San Diego River in 1774.
For additional information on the Presidio I can suggest the Joe and Gay’s blog Good Time Rollin, when we explored the park together. This is a followup to my blog of that outing Following the Friar.
The Mission was named Saint Didacus de Alcalá was given to this area by Captain Sebastian Viscaino in 1602. Didacus, or Diego, was canonized in 1588 for the many healing miracles attributed to him.
Just one year after the relocation the Mission was attacked by the native Indians, burning it to the ground. Padre Luis Jayme was killed when he went out to calm the situation, becoming the first Christian martyr in California. The cross is a monument to Father Jayme, close to the site where he died. His remains are buried within the sanctuary of the church.
The Mission was rebuilt and fortifications completed in 1790. The Mission grew to over 55000 acres extending east to what is now Mission Trails Regional Park. A more complete history is available from missionsandiego.org.
With Mexican Independence from Spain the Mission came under control Santiago Arguello. After the Mexican – American war the Mission was used to house the cavalry. In 1862, by order of President Lincoln the Mission was returned to the Catholic Church.
The Mission was finally restored to its present configuration with projects beginning in 1931.
The garden became a focal point of the 1931 reconstruction. The crosses in the garden are made from original mission tiles.
The statues within the garden represent Saints important to the Franciscans. Including Father Sera and Saint Anthony, the patron saint of lost things. At least once a week Fran asks for his assistance “Tony, Tony come around, somethings lost and must be found” … and it works!
A small museum depicts the early beginnings of the mission.
Outside the museum is an outdoor display of Indian life including thiss typical ‘Ewaa hut.
This is indeed an educational experience as are most museum and historic sites.