Highlights of the California Missions
(1) San Francisco Solano (founded 1823) The last mission founded. Founder Jose Altimira flogged the Indians so often, they stormed the buildings in 1826, forcing Altimira’s departure.
(2) San Rafael Arcángel (1817) Located in a sunny clime, this mission was a health sanctuary for ailing neophytes from the chilly San Francisco mission. On the day of its founding, 200 Indians presented themselves for catechism.
(3) San Francisco de Asís (1776) Its first worship service was held five days before the Declaration of Independence was signed. From 1821 to 1826, disease killed 1,570 Indians here.
(4) San José de Guadalupe (1797) Father Narciso Duran taught the mission Indians to read music and play European instruments, and he then formed a 30-piece band. Indians came from miles to hear the concerts.
(5) Santa Clara de Asís (1777) Fifty children were baptized within the first year. By 1832, this mission had recorded the most baptisms of any—8,536.
(6) Santa Cruz (1791) One of the least successful missions, it had only 523 Indians at its height.
(7) San Juan Bautista (1797) Although built on the San Andreas fault, its major buildings have survived. The 1812 sanctuary is still used for worship.
(8) San Carlos Borromeo (1770) Headquarters for Serra and his successor, Fermin Francisco de Lasuén. Serra was buried here.
(9) Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (1791) Floods, isolation, cold, and dampness caused 30 different missionaries to pastor this lonely (soledad) mission in some 45 years.
(10) San Antonio de Padua (1771) A bear hunt in 1772 netted 9,000 pounds of meat and saved this and Mission San Carlos from starvation.
(11) San Miguel Arcángel (1797) In 1831, a Mexican commissioner gave this mission’s Indians the right to leave. They refused ...