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Mission San Francisco de Asis (aka Mission Dolores)
Mission San Francisco de Asis (aka Mission Dolores)

Named for Saint Francis of Assisi, with the alias of Mission Dolores named for the nearby creek at the time (Arroyo de Nuestra Senora de los Dolores, or Old Lady of Sorrows Creek). The mission church of 1776 is believed to be at the corner of the original mission grounds. The adobe structure (or the 'chapel') is adjacent to the basilica built in 1918 and is the oldest surviving structure within San Francisco. The basicilica was build to replace a brick church (built in the 1870s) that was destroyed in the infamous 1906 earthquake of San Francisco. (As an aside, the historical boundary of the resulting 1906 fires ran along Dolores and the front door of the adobe mission and brick chruch... stopping on the other side of that street.)

Of course, the MISSION is the teeny old building on the left, the basicila is the 1918-built church on the right. (A Roman Catholic church is just that; a basilica is a church with certain priviledges conferred upon it by the Pope. What those priviledges are is probably best left for another day.)

Mission San Francisco de Asis (aka Mission Dolores)

Like many other missions, San Francisco was settled by Franciscian missionaries (Father Junipero Serra did pop by here a time or two, but he was busy in the missions in modern Southern California; his companion Palou and Lt. Jose Joaquin Moraga got credit for San Francisco for setting up camp here.) The mission - now termed the chapel today - was built starting in 1782, completed and dedicated in 1791. The chapel remains the oldest structure in the city of San Francisco, and while there have been various changes to the mission grounds (and size and buildings), the exterior ot the chapel has remains largely unchanged since being stood up in the 1780s. Approriately enough, the mission is San Francisco historical landmark #1.

The mission suffered the same fate of secularization, with the lands being sold - and only the church building and a small plot of land for gardening, being left for the priests. By 1843, only eight Christian Native Americans were left living at the mission. That said, the site was never fully abandoned, in no small part to being in the center of a growing city, encouraged by the California Gold Rush - though the use of the property had changed intentions a few times before being fully returned to a site of historical and religious purposes.

Mission San Francisco de Asis (aka Mission Dolores) Mission San Francisco de Asis (aka Mission Dolores)

Founded: October 9, 1776 (#6) by Lt. Jose Joaquin Moraga and Francisco Palou, in San Francisco, California at 320 Dolores Street.

Visit: Admission ($7 adults, $5 children; as of August 2018. Open daily 9am, closes 4pm (November to April) or 4:30pm (May to October); closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day and Easter.

Learn more: Mission's Web Site * Wikipedia: Mission San Francisco de Asis * Photos I Took * Tour Map (PDF will open in a new window; copyright Mission San Francisco de Asis (aka Mission Dolores))

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