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Mission San Francisco Solano
Mission San Francisco Solano

Just to get it out of the way, this mission is NOT in San Francisco; Sonoma was established as replacement to both San Francisco de Asis and sub-mission (a "asistencia") San Rafael Arcangel, due to climate (San Francisco was chilly) and politial reasons (a potential block to Russians moving inland). This was also the only mission established after Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821.

A cross was planted on July 4, 1823, but permission to build was refused; negotiations were carried out between religious and civil leaders in the California territory. The outcome was that San Francisco de Asis would NOT be closed, nor would San Rafael, as it was 'promoted' to a full mission from its sub-mission status. This did mean the Sonoma site couldn't use the same patron saint, however - as the other two missions remained connected to their saint. Father Altimira then chose San Francisco Solano, a 17th century missionary from South America.

Mission San Francisco Solano

Mission San Francisco Solano was dedicated in 1824, but by 1826 - when an argument over how the 1826 harvest was shared between the mission and the local Native Americans, the latter burned some of the buildings and Father Altimira fled to Mission San Rafael. A new caretaker was installed at Solano (relocated from Mission San Jose in Fremont, California), and his work was continued by another in 1830. the Mexican government's decision to close all the missions in 1833, effective in 1834. Like the other missions, Solano fell into a state of disrepair. A local parish church was rebuilt in 1841, and President Abraham Lincoln restored the lands to the Roman Catholic Church in 1863. (A point of confusion, the 1841 church was throught to be the original mission one, but not the case.) The two remaining buildings in 1903 were swept into the California State Park system when it was created in 1906, and some reconstruction work began over the ensuing years.

Mission San Francisco Solano Mission San Francisco Solano

Founded: July 4, 1823 (#21 and final) by Father Jose Altimira, in present-day Sonoma, California at 363 Third Street West.

Visit: Admission $3 adults, $2 children 6-17, children under 6 are free; operated b the California State Parks. Open daily 10am - 5pm, closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.

Learn more: Mission's Web Site * Wikipedia: Mission San Francisco Solano (in California) * Photos I Took * No tour map from Mission San Francisco Solano - it's a laminated borrow-and-return guide)

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