Mission San Juan
Mission of Music" Founded June 24, 1797 by Father Fermin
de Lasuen The 15th
Mission of the California Mission Chain
Naming of Mission:
The mission was named for
St. John, the Baptist
The San Juan Bautista
Mission is located on Highway 156 in San Juan Bautista about 35
miles northeast of Monterey
Though some soldiers and
church people had arrived earlier, the date of 24 June 1797 was set
aside for the founding of the San Juan Bautista Mission by Father
Fermin de Lasuen. This was one of four missions to have been founded
in the summer of 1797. It was also the 15th mission in
the California mission chain.
The mission was left under
the leadership of Fathers Jose Manuel de Martiarena and Pedro
Martinez. They began construction of the mission immediately after
the founding. By Christmas time of 1797, the church, a granary,
barracks, a monastery and several other buildings were completed.
The local Indians were a great help to the Fathers in accomplishing
this task. The mission grew quickly and outgrew the initial adobe
church. A new church was begun in June of 1803. It was to be a very
large church with three aisles (naves). It was the largest of any
mission church being 188 feet long, 72 feet wide and 40 feet tall.
The building was dedicated on 23 June 1812 with the interior
continuing to be completed until 1817. The church could hold over
1,000 people. The bell tower had three bells. One of them was a gift
from Father Lasuen's home in Spain. The town of San Juan Bautista
grew up around the mission. The town became part of the California
Stage route which brought even more travelers to the mission.
Father Tapis led the mission from 1812 to 1825. Under his
leadership, the mission became known for its quality education and
its music. When he retired from the office as Presidente of the
Missions, he came to this mission and helped it achieve musical
notariety in the mission chain. Some of his hand-written music books
may be seen at the mission.. He is buried in the sanctuary here.
The San Andreas Fault runs
near the mission. The mission felt many earthquakes, even daily
ones, during its active time as a mission. The 1906 earthquake was a
violent one and the side walls of the church collapsed. The quake
led to the dis-use of the outside aisles of the church and the
arches separating the aisles had to be filled in. The walls were not
fully restored until 1976,
The secularization took
place in 1835, the Mexican government took over the missions and the
mission became a pueblo. The brother of Pio Pico, Andres,
inventoried the mission property in 1845. He listed a parish house
of adobe and brick tile with packed clay floors and tile roofs. The
buildings and just 55 acres were returned to the Church in 1895. The
mission has the only original Plaza which remains in the state. The
mission continued to serve as a parish church during the entire time
of secularization and later to the present times. Full restoration
of the mission was completed in 1949.
Contact the Mission:
Mission San Juan
Bautista Second & Mariposa Streets P.O. Box 400 San
Juan Bautista, CA 95045-0400 Phone: (831) 623-2127
The Old Mission San Juan
Bautista has had an unbroken succession of pastors since its
founding on June 24,1797.
There is a "Cat Door"
carved into the blue side door in the Guadalupe Chapel. This little
door enabled the cats to come and go at will to catch mice. The mice
had created a serious pest control problem by eating much of the
Tiles for the mission were
left to dry overnight outside. Local animals walked across them as
they dried, leaving footprints. Rather than throw out the tiles and
wasting them, the Fathers used them in the building of the mission.
These tiles may be found in a number of different areas of the
mission, including the stairwell.
The mission was built
right next to the huge San Andreas Fault
Hitchcock movie, Vertigo, was filmed at the mission
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last updated on 28 June 2012 at 10:06 pm
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