The Mission of San Diego - founded in 1769 - is a classic adobe Spanish style church/fort. Note - the wall carillon with bells in each niche. Some of the bells are over 200 years old
When I was a kid - I was impressed with the El Camino Real. No - I am not talking about the sleek little pickup truck/car that Chevy made back in the 60s. I am talking about the Royal Highway that the Spanish constructed when they still ruled California. They constructed a series of 20 missions - each about 30 miles apart - extending 600 miles from San Diego to SanFrancisco. In these missions - the padres shepherded the Indians to Christianity and the European ways.
Today - I took the San Diego trolley into the hills north and east of downtown. The trolley went through the barrios as it meandered through the arroyos. After switching trains - and passing through San Diego State University - my first stop loomed ahead.
The mission was up on a hill about a mile from the trolley station. The weather was nice - and the climb was leisurely. After a $2.00 gray head admission - I pretty well had the place to myself. I spent a little less than two hours looking at the sites and reading all the story boards.
This mission is still used today as a house of worship by the Catholic Church. After the Mexican War - the USA used the chain of missions to fortify and administer the territory. During the Civil War - Abraham Lincoln gave the San Diego Mission back to the Catholic Church. It has fallen into disrepair many times during its 240 year history.
In the early 1900s - it was still used as an Indian school.
The church was long and narrow - because builders were limited by the roof trusses made from local trees
In 1906 - after a recent renovation - this picture was taken of the Indian school class. Note the early US flag - California was made a state after the Gold Rush.
This area reminds one of the Alamo where Davy Crockett was killed in the Mexican War. The Alamo was another Spanish mission
The inside of the church is plain but elegant. The floors are made of large clay tiles - the roof is rough hewn lumber
Just 1 mile west of the mission along the train track is the stadium where the Chargers play - and where we once saw Penn State beat BYU in the Holiday Bowl. Heisman Trophy QB Ty Detmer played for the Cougars and passed for 576 yards but still lost.