Mission San Francisco de Asis

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Mission San Francisco de Asis (1776-1834) - A Spanish mission established in 1776 by Father Francisco Palou and Lt. Jose Joaquin Moraga in present day San Francisco, San Francisco County, California. Also known as Mission Dolores and Mission de los Dolores. Secularization in 1834 ended church ownership of the mission community property.

Mission San Francisco de Asis (Mission Dolores)
El Camino Real Marker on Mission Dolores
Mission Dolores Old Lithograph circa 1849

The Spanish Period (1769-1822)

The Spanish period began in California with the building of Mission San Diego de Alcala, and the Presidio of San Diego in 1769. The Spanish Presidio provided a support system for the attached missions that included military troops. The mission provided provided a complete community for the converted native peoples that included agriculture and industry activities as well as religious instruction and services. Typically a very limited military presence was maintained at the missions and the presidio acted as the garrison for the surrounding missions.

The Mission San Francisco de Asis was founded on 29 Jun 1776, by Lt. Jose Joaquin Moraga and Father Francisco Palou as the sixth of twenty-one missions founded in California. The mission was associated with the Presidio of San Francisco (about three miles away) which eventually provided military support for all six missions in the San Francisco area.

The Mission came to include a significant number of about 1,100 Indian converts who became resident community members and performed all of the tasks necessary to keep the community running. In 1810 the Mission owned some 11,000 sheep, 11,000 cows, and thousands of horses, goats, pigs, and mules.

Mexican Period (1822-1846)

Mission San Francisco de Asis before 1835

The Mexican period began with the end of the Mexican Revolution around 1820. Mexican troops occupied the presidios and Mexican governors ran the province of Alta California. The Mexican government began the process of secularization (turning church lands over to private interests) around 1831 and passed laws in 1833 mandating secularization of all missions in Mexico. Secularization gradually ended church ownership of community property. Most of the missions and presidios were abandoned and fell into disrepair as the lands were redistributed to private owners.

The American Period (1846-Present)

The Mexican War was declared by the U.S. Congress on 11 May 1846 in response to a Mexican attack on U.S. troops in Texas. The declaration of war opened the door for American occupation of California. The American period began when American forces occupied San Diego in 1846. With end of the war, Mexico ceded all of upper California to the Americans in 1848 and a new round of land redistribution began.

On 19 Feb 1853, Archbishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany filed a claim on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church for the return of all former mission lands in the State of California. Ownership of 1,051 acres (for all practical intents being the exact area of land occupied by the original mission buildings, cemeteries, and gardens) was transferred back to the Catholic Church by land patents and proclamations signed by U.S. Presidents between 1855 and 1874.

Current Status

The mission church and adjacent graveyard have remained relatively unchanged despite periods of abandonment and disrepair. Restoration efforts have kept the facade close to the original. The cemetery is greatly reduced in size from the original. The larger Mission Dolores Basilica is located beside the original mission church. Located at 16th & Dolores streets in downtown San Francisco, San Francisco County, California.

USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry: 228832

Location: 16th & Dolores streets. San Francisco, San Francisco County, California.

Maps & Images

Lat: 37.7640966 Long: -122.4269155



Visited: 18 Nov 2012

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