Mission San Miguel Arcangel

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Mission San Miguel Arcangel (1797-1834) - A Spanish mission established in 1797 by Father Fermin Lasuen in present day San Miguel, San Luis Obispo County, California. Associated with the Presidio of Monterey. Named for Saint Michael the Archangel. Secularized in 1834. Also known as Mission San Miguel.

Mission San Miguel Arcangel Chapel
Mission San Miguel Arcangel Chapel Interior
Mission San Miguel Arcangel Front Entrance

The Spanish Period (1769-1821)

Mission San Miguel Arcangel Courtyard Fountain

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 Miguel Arcangel was founded on 25 Jul 1797, by Father Fermin Lasuen, as the 16th of twenty-one Spanish missions founded in California.

Mexican Period (1822-1846)

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.. Mission San Miguel was secularized on 14 Jul 1836 when Mexican Colonel Ignacio Coronal took control of the mission for the Mexican Government. By 1841 the last Franciscan had left the mission and it was in serious decline.

The property was sold in 1846 by Mexican Governor Pio Pico and used for a variety of purposes as California transitioned to American control.

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.. The core property of the Mission was returned to the Catholic Church in 1859 by U.S. President James Buchanan.

In 1928, Mission San Miguel Arcangel was returned to the Franciscan order and they restored it.

The San Simeon Earthquake of 22 Dec 2003 damaged the Mission sanctuary. The Catholic Church considered closing the parish due to the extensive damage and the estimated $15 million repair cost but the restoration work was undertaken and completed. The restored Mission reopened on 29 Sep 2009.

Current Status

Mission San Miguel Arcangel Roadside Marker

Restored mission in San Miguel, San Luis Obispo County, California.

USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry: 248928

Location: 775 Mission Street in San Miguel, San Luis Obispo County, California.

Maps & Images

Lat: 35.7444124 Long: -120.6979493

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 636'



Visited: 30 Nov 2013

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