Such a pretty day that we decided to tour some missions within 150 miles of campsite. Our drive took us to Fremont, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz,Monterey and San Juan Bautista.
From the early 1500's until the mid 1800's, the missions were the primary means the Spanish taught Catholicism and lifestyle to the Native Americans. A developed mission was self-sustaining occupied by local natives, soldiers, artisans and priests.
Mission San Jose in Fremont was founded in 1797. By 1831 the Mission Indians numbered about 1886 comprised of the peaceful Ohlone tribe.
Our next stop on the campus of Santa Clara University was Mission Santa Clara the 8th mission in the chain of 21 founded in 1777 on the Guadalupe River. Flood,fire and earthquakes saw five locations before being moved to the present site in 1822. It was also the first to bear the name of a woman, St Claire of Assisi.It was later turned into a college becoming the first of higher learning in California.
Continuing on to Santa Cruz Mission which was founded in 1791 as the 12th mission on the Camino Real. The State Historic Park in back of the church has the only remaining adobe structure built between 1822 and 1824 that served as housing for native people who joined the mission.
In Monterey we toured the Monterey Presidio Museum overlooking Monterey Bay and San Carlos Cathedral also known as "The Royal Presidio Chapel". The chapel has served the people of Monterey since 1770.
On the grounds of the museum, a Native American village existed some 5,000 years ago. In 1792, Spanish troops constructed a fortification on the hill to fend off attacks from the sea. During the Mexican-American War of 1846, US troops claimed California and built a fortress on the hill named Fort Mervine. In 1898 as the US entered war with Spain the post was reactivated and named Presidio of Monterey and remained an active post through WWII. Today it provides intensive training in language and is known as the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center.
Our final stop was at San Juan Bautista Mission founded in 1797 and the 15th of the 21 missions. In 1803 the cornerstone was laid for the church. With three aisles, it became the widest of all mission churches. There are animal prints in the floor tiles that were left outside to dry during the making. The present gift shop was home for the Breem family in 1847 who survived the Donner Party tragedy. www.san-juan-bautista.ca.us
It was a long day covering some 300 miles. A beautiful sunset ended the day.