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Mission San Luis Rey

Mission San Luis Rey

Just an hour north of San Diego is another mission - Mission San Luis Rey. It was founded in 1798 by Padre Fermin Francisco de Lasuen who was the successor to Padre Junipero Serra. The mission which is the 18th founded in California and was named after St Louis IX.

It has a fascinating history. Father Antonis Peyri was the first father in charge. Under his direction, the mission became a center of agriculture and life in the region. Grapes, oranges, olives, wheat and corn were cultivated along with many heads of livestock. It became the largest mission in California by 1830.

Mexico won independence in 1821 from Spain and the missions were to pass over to the native people but instead it was taken over by several administrators who grabbed portions of the land.

In 1847-1857, the missions became operational bases for U.S. soldiers as the United States took control of California and it became a state. Several noted soldiers including Kit Carson served at the mission base. The Catholic church petitioned the US government to take control back of the missions and Abraham Lincoln signed an billed to pass control back to the Catholic Church in 1865. There is a copy of the declaration in the mission museum.

The mission fell into disrepair until 1892 until Father O'Keefe took over and rebuilt much of today's buildings. Another bit of trivia I discovered after visiting is Walt Disney used the mission buildings to film first season of the original Zorro TV series episodes. He added the distinctive skull and cross bones seen over the entrance to the cemetery which I unfortunately did not take a picture of. I think you can tell from the interior courtyards and distinctive architecture how it would be perfect location for a series on the early California Spanish colony.

Mission San Luis Rey

Mission San Luis Rey
Lovely cactus garden in front of the mission

Mission San Luis Rey
The oldest pepper tree in a church garden - almost 200 years old.

Mission San Luis Rey

Mission San Luis Rey
Interior courtyard - the citrus, mimosa and wisteria were in bloom - it smelled heavenly

Mission San Luis Rey

Mission San Luis Rey

Mission San Luis Rey

Mission San Luis Rey

Mission San Luis Rey
The white and blue architecture looks like Greece

Mission San Luis Rey

Comments (6)

Nice photos! I linked this blog post also to my post on the missions we visited since you wrote about it in so much more detail. I have a photo of the skull and cross bones. I would be happy to send it to you. Interesting looking at your photos. I took almost the exact same photo as your photo right under the tombstone but landscape format instead of portrait format. It is such a beautiful mission. Thanks again for suggesting it.

I agree with you I thought it looked like Greece as well. Great story and photos. I would like to travel this mission trail someday.....m

It does look like Greece with the white and the blue blue skies. Love that little courtyard. I'm enjoying the vicarious trip to San Diego!

sandrac:

This looks so beautiful and peaceful...I love the contrast between the blue skies and the white of the mission buildings.

YTSL:

I wonder... is this one of the missions that appeared in "Vertigo"? In my mind, it looks like it. :)

YTSL - excellent observation. The scene in Vertigo is actually at San Juan Bautista which is farther north. They all look a bit similar.

I realized I've never blogged about two other missions that I've visited including San Juan Bautista. San Juan Bautista is one of my favorites. I'll post about it in the future although I don't have really great pictures.

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