Earlier that year the Commander Anza had said that while the fort shall be built where the entrance to the port is narrowest the town on the mesa behind it, and the mission in this quiet beautiful valley, sufficiently near the fort to be under its protection, but far enough away to insure its peaceful serenity
The 114 by 22 foot Mission Dolores building is the San Francisco Bay Area's oldest surviving structure, even the 1906 earthquake which took down the neighboring basilica did not harm the Adobe building built by Christianized Ohlone Indians. Constructed of thousands of adobe bricks arranged in a block 10 feet thick and set on a foundation of rock four feet below the surface the building is most distinguished by its brilliant facade of whitewashed adobe bricks.
The sixth of 21 Spanish mission churches ordered built by King Carlos III of Spain to better lay claim to the mythical land of California. The first mission was established in 1769 in San Diego and the last built in Sonoma in 1823. The two entrusted with the ambitious project of bringing civilization to California were Father Juniper Serra and Lieutenant Juan Bautista de Anza. The missions were each a day's journey apart and were linked by El Camino Real or King's Highway. In the grassy median strip center of Dolores Street, just outside the main entry where authorities wish to erect statues commemorating the birth of the Bay Area, is a Mission Bell which at one time could be found all along the historic El Camino Real.
The nearby pueblo was named Yerba Buena but eventually took the name of the Mission San Francisco and the surrounding neighborhood became known simply as The Mission. The Mission Dolores Basilica was visited by Pope John Paul As time went by the town took the name of Saint Francis, while the mission more popularly became known as Mission Dolores. The Mission is still known
For thousands of years, the native Ohlone had hunted the Bay's local wildlife and, from their nearby encampments, gathered tule reeds and other creekside plants to build boats, roofs, mat and baskets. Overnight the people were asked and then required to leave their way of life for a repressive agricultural labor system.
The coastal area stretching from San Francisco to Monterey Bay was home to forty or so culturally diverse native tribes now known collectively as the Ohlone This name was given by the the Miwok Indians who lived in North and East Bay and it has in recent years replaced the Costeños name originally given by the Spaniards The Olhone enjoyed an easy life as a mobile society of hunter-gatherers since the region provided abundant game, waterfowl, shellfish, native plants, and fish. The are said to have invented the double headed paddle.
Mission Dolores never met the expectations of its founders: A total of 6,536 Indians and 448 Mexicans were baptized there, while 5,187 Indians and 150 Mexicans were buried in the cemetery next door. The coastal fog made agricultural crops marginally successful and the Indians were frequent deserters. How the Jesuit priests coped with this problem is the source of continuing controversy.
As through most of the Americas, it was the European diseases, which was responsible for the elimination of most of the native population. In the 77 years of Spanish and Mexican control of California, the native population declined from about 300,000 to 150,000. There were considerable problems with disease at Mission Dolores. In 1817, the future Mission San Rafael Archangela was opened in San Rafael as a hospital mission where the Mission Dolores inhabitants could enjoy the recuperative elements of sunshine.
Still only a relatively small percentage of Indians in California had become "civilized" by the mid 19th century but all knew that there was no returning to the idyllic existence they had known before the Missionaries arrived
The California missions were taken over by an anti-clerical Mexican government in 1833 and soon fell into ruin by the government which could not afford their upkeep. In 1834, Mexico decided to end the mission system and sell all of the lands. Sergeant Francisco DeHaro received 2,000 acres of wetlands and pasture around Mission Dolores from the Mexican government
San Francisco boasted a mere 459 residents in June of 1847. By December of 1849 that number had swelled to nearly 30,000 The Gold Rush would mark the point where innocence of the Olhone way of life was forever lost. Even Mission Dolores hosted saloons, two race tracks and bear & bull fights on its property
The Mission was returned to the Catholic Church in 1857. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed an Act declaring that all of the 21 missions in the California mission chain would become the property of the Catholic Church and have remained so since that time.
Today the Mission greets 200,000 and 15,000 school children each year. The striking designs in the unusual ceiling are the original Indian designs in stripes of mustard yellow, gray, white, and red. The redwood ceiling beams are lashed together with rawhide thong. The church is decorated with many icons some which came from Mexico but others made of redwood must have been made at Mission Dolores.
|An Ohlone rembers||TOP |||
|``When I stand outside Mission SanJose, I tell
people that it's true that the way of life of my ancestors no
longer exists because of the presence of this colonial
institution,'' said Andrew Galvan, an Ohlone Indian who is
helping raise money to preserve the missions.
``On the other hand, when I go inside I see the place where my great-great-grandfather was baptized.
``I find myself in an odd juxtaposition,'' said Galvan, who is an archaeologist interested in the 3,000-year history of his people.
``These missions were built by Indians and for Indians,'' Galvan said. ``We are all connected to these missions, as a spiritual home, as a symbol of the survival of a people, or as a symbol of oppression.
Galvan says he wants to be sure ``the Indian story is not
forgotten in the mission story.''
The equestrian statue of Anza was a gift in 1967 from the governor of the Mexican state of Sonora,
"Anza's character may be read in the pages of his diary. He was by nature simple and kindly, responsive to the call of duty and true to the "chivalrous traditions of heroic Spain." It is not easy to estimate the value of the services of this gallant soldier, and the monument erected in San Francisco to the Pioneers of California is incomplete without his name."
The Beginnings of San Francisco
King Carlos III was a 1976 bicentennial gift to the city from Spain's current king, Juan Carlos .
The King of Spain from 1759 to 1788, was the most dynamic of
the Bourbon monarchs. A product of the Enlightenment, his imprint is
everywhere in the architecture and planning of modern Madrid.
California Missions Web Guides |TOP |
www.CaliforniaMissions.com || Dolores
|| Mission Dolores
California Mission Studies Association or ca-missions.org For the Study and Preservation of the California Missions, Presidios, Pueblos, and Ranchos and Their Native American, Hispanic, and Early American Past.
Coro Hispano de San
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