Thursday, October 10, 2013


The mission was founded in 1776 by Juniper Serra.  It has the distinction of being the oldest building in California still in use and one of the best known. The mission had fairly good success converting many of the local natives for a number of years
   The Criolla or “Mission grape” was first planted at San Juan Capistrano in 1779 and in 1783 the first wine was produced in Alta California at the mission winery.  Work on the stone church was begun in 1797.           
Tragedy struck the settlement when a series of earthquakes left “The Great Stone Church” in ruins.

The mission property was auctioned off in l841 to the brother-in-law of Governor Pio Pico whose family lived in the mission until l865 when Abraham Lincoln restored the ownership of the mission the to Catholic Church.
Soldiers quarters
During the early 20th century the mission was restored and today the compound serves as a museum with the Serra Chapel within the compound serving as a chapel for the mission parish

 Some of the points of interest today are the wine and tallow vats, the old millstones, a hide tanning area, reproductions of plein air painting exhibit, Native American artifacts, a treasury, the padres quarters, the Serra Chapel and the bell wall.


The mission formed a shaky bridge for the Indians between the world of their ancestors and that of the Spaniards.  Many of the Indians who lived at the missions were treated more like slaves workings in the agricultural fields and a large number died from disease.

 We took time out for lunch at El Adobe.  On the way back to continue our visit at the mission we strolled through a huge antique mall.