Mission San Fernando Rey de España was founded on September 8, 1797 and was the 17th of the 21 Spanish missions established in Alta California.
It has been well taken care and was way more polished than Mission San Gabrielthat I had visited earlier.
On September 8, 1797, the fourth mission founded by Father Lasuén in a period of four months was named San Fernando Rey de España. Although the mission was supposed to relieve the long march between San Gabriel and San Buenaventura, the aged padre set it somewhat to the south because of the barren terrain and poor drainage of the middle area.
Even the location at San Fernando presented problems. The land best suited for the mission was already occupied by a Spanish settler, Francisco Reyes, mayor of the pueblo of Los Angeles. Authorities differ regarding Reyes’ willingness to give up the territory, some maintaining that he had received the grant from the King and was forcibly evicted from the rancho, while others claim that Reyes had simply “squatted” on the land and that his retirement was a graceful and obliging one. The records do show, however, that Reyes remained long enough to perform the duties of a patron at the dedication services, and that he was the godfather of the first child to be baptized at the mission.
Two months after the dedication, the church was completed and had a neophyte congregation of more than 40. The padres and their Indian converts continued to prosper and by 1806, San Fernando was producing hides, tallow, soap, cloth and other mission products in considerable quantities. As they were relatively near the pueblo of Los Angeles, they had a ready market. At the height of its prosperity, San Fernando owned 13,000 cattle, 8,000 sheep and its 2,300 horses was the third largest herd in the possession of the missions. These material achievements were not exceptional, however, among the California missions.
It was the accident of location that eventually brought the settlement a unique distinction. Situated directly on the highway leading to the fast-growing community of Los Angeles, it soon became the most popular stopping off place for travelers on El Camino Real. The number of overnight visits at the prosperous mission increased so steadily that the padres kept adding to the hospice, or “hotel” facilities of the convento building. The result was the famous “long building” which today forms the major portion of the remaining mission structure. Travelers, no matter what their station, were accommodated. A special room “the governors chamber” was set aside for the use of particularly distinguished visitors. This room, rediscovered and restored in 1933, reflects a level of comfort and cheerfulness rarely attained within the thick and gloomy walls of the usual mission structure.
No other mission suffered San Fernando’s subsequent degradation. In 1888, the mission property was used as a warehouse and stable, and later the grounds and patio became a hog farm. It was not until 1896 when Charles Fletcher Lummis, a prominent member of the Landmarks Club, began a campaign to reclaim the mission property that the fortunes of San Fernando improved. In 1923, the Church once again returned to the mission and the property was turned over to the Oblate Fathers. Since then restoration work has made steady progress.
In 1804 nearly 1,000 Indians lived at the mission. The Indians at the mission learned the trades of the missions. Blacksmith, farming, ranching, carpentry, weaving, leathermaking, brick making, and soapmaking all became important trades at the mission.
They were also known for their winemaking.
The Indians at San Fernando were famous for their grapes and wine.
It’s Bob’s world, literally.
He and his wife are buried in between the Mission and its cemetery.
There are over 2,000 people buried in the cemetery, most of them are Indians.
This one sure has some treasures in it…
…and this. Really Bob, in a church?
God doesn’t look to happy with the Trivago guy trying to stand in for the Pope.
Welcome to the Madonna room. Each time you walk in, it triggers a rad soundtrack that’s oh so Madonna.
The Mission’s old organ in the middle.
Jesus would appreciate it if you could exit through the gift shop on your way out. Thanks!