Mission San Francisco Solano

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Mission San Francisco de Solano was founded on July 4, 1823 and named for Francis Solanus, a missionary to the Indians of Peru born in Montilla, Spain, known as the "Wonder Worker of the New World." Originally planned as an asistencia ("sub-mission") to Mission San Rafael Arcángel, it is the northernmost Alta California Franciscan mission[6] (an attempt to found a twenty-second mission in Santa Rosa in 1827 was aborted).[7] The mission is located in present-day Sonoma, California at 114 East Spain Street.

Contents

History

The mission was built by the Mexican authorities as a barrier to Russia's attempts to extend control to the federal territory of Alta California.[8] During the years the Mission was active, General Mariano Vallejo resided in town. He was tasked with monitoring the activities of Russia at their nearby settlement of Fort Ross (krepost' rus'), and with establishing peaceful relations with the Native Americans of the region.[9] Vallejo helped to build the town of Sonoma and even paid for the rebuilding of the small Mission chapel. There were always soldiers and settlers in the town of Sonoma during the Mexican period. The Franciscan Fathers grew grapes and produced sacramental wine from the first vineyard in the Sonoma Valley, which was first planted in 1825. By 1834, Vallejo had the Rancho Petaluma Adobe built a few miles to the west, which became a large agricultural operation to support the Spanish military here.[10] By 1839, the Mission was in ruins and unoccupied. Through the years the Mission saw many different uses, among these a blacksmith's shop, a barn, and even a storeroom. In 1846, white American settlers took over the town in what has come to be known as the "Bear Flag Revolt". It was during this time that the Mission was sold to a man who used the chapel entrance as a saloon and stored his liquor and hay in the chapel. The Mission eventually became a parish church serving the Pueblo and Sonoma Valley until it was sold to a private interest in 1881. In 1903, the California Historic Landmarks League bought the remains of Mission San Francisco Solano. Restoration was completed in 1913. The restored chapel burned in 1970. Today, the Mission is part of the Sonoma State Historic Park. It is open to visitors and has a small museum located in the padres' quarters.

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