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Mission Revival
 

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Beginning in the 1880s, Californians embarked on a search for a style of architecture and design appropriate to their state and its heritage. Their quest led to the crumbling missions remaining from the Spanish/Mexican era. As artists and writers imbued these “piles” which a nostalgia and romance they never enjoyed during their heyday, architects found inspiration in the brooding ruins and uncluttered lines of the old mission churches. Buildings from humble bungalows to luxury hotels adopted the “mission style.” Authors no longer viewed the time before 1835 as an era of superstitious primitivism. Rather, it became one of kindly padres and devout, submissive, Indians living in a mythical arcadia in the shadows of the great missions. Promoters capitalized in this new interest in things Spanish and “Old California,” particularly the missions, to boost tourism, settlement and investment. The missions became tourist attractions as statewide organizations, such as the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West and the Landmarks Club, along with the Roman Catholic Church, local supporters, and occasionally state and local governments, began the long process of restoring the decaying church buildings.

 


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Elements of “Mission Revival” architecture appeared in a wide variety of buildings throughout California. This design for the entrance to the quad at San Diego State College, ca. 1930, reflected the bell tower of the old mission a few miles away, drawn by Alfred Eichler.

Elements of “Mission Revival” architecture appeared in a wide variety of buildings throughout California. This design for the entrance to the quad at San Diego State College, ca. 1930, reflected the bell tower of the old mission a few miles away, drawn by Alfred Eichler.

Sight Seeting Trolley Trips Brochure

California Mission Trails Brochure

In the twentieth century, California's missions became tourist attractions. At first, streetcars reached the sites in urban areas. Later, U.S. Highway 101 followed the old “El Camino Real” allowing easy automobile access to most of the missions.

SB 63

SB 1240

Original Senate bills for the maintenance of Mission San Francisco de Solano, 1909, 1921. Increasing public appreciation for California's missions prompted the legislature in 1905 to approve transfer of the remains of Mission San Francisco de Solano at Sonoma from the Landmarks Club to the State, and make subsequent appropriations for its reconstruction and upkeep. Today the mission is a State Park.

Early in the twentieth century, books by authors such as George Wharton James stimulated considerable public interest in preserving the old missions.

Early in the twentieth century, books by authors such as George Wharton James stimulated considerable public interest in preserving the old missions.

In 1875, Elizabeth Hughes became one of the first writers to advance California's mission era as a romantic utopia in her pamphlet, <emp>The California of the Padres: Or Footprints of Ancient Communism.</emp>

In 1875, Elizabeth Hughes became one of the first writers to advance California's mission era as a romantic utopia in her pamphlet, The California of the Padres: Or Footprints of Ancient Communism.

Glenwood Mission Inn, Riverside, California Postcard.

Glenwood Mission Inn, Riverside, California Postcard.



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