Tink and I had been discussing this trip for a while. What brought it front and center was our recent trip to the LA Natural History Museum. The kids haven't studied the California Missions yet (happens in 4th grade). They didn't realize that California was once part of Mexico, which was once owned by Spain. To them California has always been part of the United States, and English has always been the native language. We wanted to address that. Before I get to the pictures there are a few things I wanted to say as well.
The California Mission System can be a very volatile topic. It involves imperialistic colonization, religion, race, slavery, abuse, politics, the birth of one society and the destruction of another. At first I was hesitant to post this TR. When my children are older I will explain the darker side of this system. For now we decided to focus on history. We decided to explain how important the Missions were in establishing cities, and how the history of our state is closely tied to the Mission System. There is no going back. There is no righting the wrongs of the past. What we can do is remember what happened, learn from it, and hopefully prevent it in the future. When my children are older we'll talk about it. For right now, at their age, the focus is on history.
Many of my friends were surprised that we took the kids to a Mission. Tink and I were both raised Roman Catholic, but we don't practice. We aren't the "Church on Sunday" family. Many family and friends wish we were... but we're not. We're "spiritual" and in that respect we love taking the kids to see the natural wonders of this world. We hope to eventually take the kids to all 21 of the California Missions. We know this will take years to do... but it is the backbone of the history of California. So for anyone concerned about this report, I actively chose to leave religion out of it as much as possible. That said on with the report.
Getting to San Gabriel proved to be an adventure in itself. We specifically chose San Gabriel because it was the closest Mission. It is right outside Los Angeles. We headed out sometime around 11am on a Saturday. Traffic "should" have been light. Turns out the 5 was a mess. So we took the 91 thinking we'd hit the 605. 605 was a mess. So 91 all the way to the 710... a good 15 minute detour. 5 was STILL a mess, thankfully we didn't need it. 10 was "interesting"... but eventually we made it. Also of note the Mission is still active. When we pulled up there was a Baptism in the old chapel and a funeral in the new one. The result was a full parking lot and a short walk from a side street parking job.
My only "complaint" was a lack of signs. We actually walked all the way up to the Mission doors because we didn't see the museum entrance. Overall I can't complain.
The kids made the comment about a castle. The adobe walls are 5ft thick in some places. The amazing part is that portions of it survived the 1812 earthquake. What you are looking at is the oldest standing structure in LA County.
a nice little decorative touch
This is #4 in the Mission System. It was founded September 8, 1791. For anyone wondering the Missions do run up the coast, but they are not founded in a South to North order. The southern most is the first and the northern most is the last... but in between is a LOT of back and forth. To go from #1 to #2 is to travel from San Diego to San Jose... Any hope of seeing these in order was quickly dashed. Our 'system" will be to start with what is close and work outwards from there.
It took a couple minutes to find the museum entrance. You pay admission in the gift shop
Free for children (through age 5)
$3.00 for youth (age 6 thru 17)
$5.00 for adults (age 18 thru 61)
$4.00 for senior citizens (age 62 and older)
Some of the structures are original, some of them are replica. A lot was destroyed in a massive 1812 earthquake. I'll get to it later but on the other side of this gate is the oldest recorded graveyard in LA County.
large anchor with some history to it. I'll let all of you read about it.
Showing Tink just how nice our kitchen is compared to what people used to have
You honestly couldn't tell what was "replica" without signs.
There is literally history buried all over the place out here.
A brief summary of the civil history of the Mission. Believe it or not it was President Lincoln who gave the property back to the Church.
I'm kicking myself because I forgot to photograph the sign. The barrel is original. They found it in the river bed in the early 1900's... they assume it was part of the military history of the Mission.
Installed 1930's, restored 1970's... the kids had fun looking at all the models. The geographical back and forth from 3 this to # that would make your head spin!
plaque too faded to read.
This Mission was the "backbone" of the system. This was the largest of them Missions in terms of property and supplied all the other Missions with a variety of goods.