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Mission San Diego de Alcala
Mission San Diego de Alcala

Mission San Diego de Alcala was the first of 21 missions ultimately established in Alta California (present-day California, as opposed to Baja California's series of missions in present-day Mexico).

Named for Spanish Franciscian lay brother Didacus of Alcala, the Mission - by virtue of being the first - also lays claims to several firsts. First mission established. First site of a Christian burial in Alta California. Regarded as the site of the area's first public execution in 1778, of the first Christian marty (Father Luis Jayme) during a raid of the mission grounds in 1775. (The 1778 executions were believed to be that of four members of the local Kumeyaay chiefs for conspiracy to kill Christians, though there's some doubt as to if the executions actually occurred as scheduled.)

As with many of the mission sites in Southern California, Mission San Diego is not the original structure on the site, and the current structures are the fifth build:

  1. Originally built in 1769 on a nearby site
  2. Relocated in August 1774 to the current location, and largely destored in an attack in November 1775
  3. The church was built in 1813, the third church/chapel on this site)
  4. Secularization was in 1834, though what was the "fourth" rebuilding isn't clear - or when
  5. Rebuilt in stages from 1918 to 1931; the current grounds became actively used as a parish starting in 1941

Mission San Diego de Alcala

The mission suffered the same fate of secularization as the other missions, beginning in 1834. The site was offered for sale, though no one could afford the asking price, and the mission property was broken into smaller lots and given to former military offers who had fought in the Mexican War of independence (1810-1821). The mission itself was given away in 1846, used by the military from 1846 to 1862 following the annexation of California, and ultimately returned to the Roman Catholic Church by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862.

The site was restored (for the last time) in the 1930s to its present-day condition.

Mission San Diego de Alcala Mission San Diego de Alcala

Founded: July 16, 1769 (#1) by Fathers Junipero Serra, Juan Viscaino and Fernando Parron, in San Diego, California at 10818 San Diego Mission Road.

Visit: Admission ($5 adults, $3 seniors and students, $2 children under 12; as of July 2018. Open daily 9am, closes 4:30pm.

Learn more: Mission's Web Site * Wikipedia: Mission San Diego de Alcala * Photos I Took * (No tour map/guide from this mission)

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