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Mission San Fernando Rey de España is the 17th of 21 missions established by the Franciscans along El Camino Real. Located in the San Fernando Valley, let’s explore some historical gems: the church, the Convento, the wine cellar, and the Mayordomo’s House.
A pinch of history
- The area has been inhabited for at least 12,000 years by the Tvonga Native American people.
- Father Fray Fermin Francisco De Lasuén (1736-1803) established the Mission on September 8th, 1797.
- The mission was named after Ferdinand III, king of Spain.
- The Convento is the largest original mission building in California.
The Mission Church and cemetery
The mission church was built between 1804 and 1806. Between 1797 and 1846, there were 3,188 baptisms, 842 weddings, and 2,449 burials.
The 1971 San Fernando earthquake damaged the original church. The 166-by-35 feet building standing today is a replica including original furnishings.
The adjacent cemetery is the final resting place of parishioners together with early settlers and, more recently, comedian Bob Hope.
As the mission was a stop between Mission San Buenaventura and Mission San Gabriel, the convent was built to host missionaries and visitors. Completed in 1822 after 13 years of construction, the two-stories building is recognizable with its long corridor of 21 Roman arches. It’s the largest original mission building in California.
Step inside to explore some of the 21 rooms as the bishop room, the monk’s quarters, the hospice, the reception room, and much more. Many rooms served today as a museum: there are many artifacts from different periods on display.
The Wine Cellar
In 1797, the first grapes vines from Spain were planted. A few years later, the wine production rose. Native Americans crushed grapes barefoot, and the juice was stoked in this 18 by the 46-foot cellar. Primarily the wine was used for the Mass and meals. It was also exchanged for provisions.
The Mayordomo’s House
The foreman lived in this adobe. He oversaw the 121,542 acres ranch. The mission produced wheat and corn, raised livestock (cattle, sheep, horses), made wine and oil olive. The mission supported itself, and the Native Americans largely contributed to its economy.
Sounds like a must-see?
*COVD-19 update as of March 2022*
– Please wear a mask and practice a physical distance of 6 feet between yourself and others
– Please check L.A County’s health and safety protocols before your visit
- Location: 15151 San Fernando Mission Blvd, Mission Hills, CA 91345
- Hours: 9:00 am – 4:00 PM. Call before your visit as the Mission can be closed for special events.
- Duration: I spent 2 hours discovering it.
- Admission: $5 per adult
- Parking: free on-site lot and street parking
- More information is available at https://californiamissionsfoundation.org/mission-san-fernando/
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