Sonoma Mission, Sonoma
The Sonoma Mission sits just a block from the corner of the Town Plaza. It is the last of twenty one missions that begins in San Diego. The mission was built in 1823 and served as a working mission until 1834. When it was constructed the mission contained a church, living quarters, workshops, orchards, vineyards, livestock and pastures.
I did not go inside the Mission when I visited. It was getting dark and I decided to just take pictures of the exterior and walk down the street to see the yard.
Sonoma is considered by many to be the historical home to the state of California. The original mission, restored here, is considered to be the oldest mission still standing in this area. The mission was founded by Father Jose Altimira and was opened on July 4, 1823. However the mission has a violent history as Father Jose Altimira was known to have flogged and imprisoned many Native Americans in his attempt to "civilize" them. They eventually revolted and he had to flee for his life. Looking at this peaceful setting and beautiful historic mission is hard to imagine its horrendous beginnings.
In one corner of downtown Sonoma is the Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma, the northernmost and last of the Spanish missions. It was founded in about 1821, just before Mexico, which included California, won its independence from Spain. It was consecrated in 1823. Shortly after Mexico won its independence, and after it toppled its brief attempt at being an imperial monarchy, Mexico disestablished the missions. This mission went into decline, but still operated as a base on which to build the small town of Sonoma as a nucleus for Mexican settlement and administration of the area north of San Francisco.
The oldest part of the current mission building was built in 1825. The chapel was built in 1840-1841 under the leadership of Mariano Vallejo, the local Mexican commandant. Although it fell into decay and was renovated with some new parts, the original Mexican buildings still stand, rather than being a facsimile, and the mission is in great condition.
This is California Historical Landmark #3.
Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma was founded the 4th of July in 1823 as the 21st and last of the California Missions, and the only mission established under Mexican rule. Initially intended to replace both Mission Dolores and Mission San Rafael, Sonoma Mission was finally approved by the church with the stipulation that the other missions remain. The mission was secularized by the Mexican government in 1834 then went into ruin. It was restored in the early 1900s, then turned over to the state of California which continues to maintain the mission today as part of the Sonoma Mission State Historic Park.
Many people are drawn to the Sonoma Valley for it's wonderful warm climate, fertile soil and irresistible beauty. Father Jose Altimira was no exception. In July 4, 1823 he travelled north from Mission Dolores in San Francisco where he was assisting, to found Mission San Francisco Solano (or the Sonoma Mission as it is more commonly known), making it the last and northern-most of the California missions. Here the Franciscan fathers cultivated the land to make sacramental wine from the Valley's first vineyard.
Today, this historic adobe structure with its red-tiled roofs still stands at one corner of the Sonoma town square just a stone's throw away from the Sonoma Cheese Factory. The original mission was reduced to rubble after a couple of earthquakes including the big one of 1906. It has since been restored and converted into a museum. Hanging in the main room and dining room are the Virgil Jorgensen watercolor depictions of the place.
Founded in 1823 as the northern most mission, it was built as a reaction to Russian intrusion in Northern California and the only one built during the Mexican era.
Founded in 1823, Mission Sonoma was the last of all the old Spanish missions on California. It was also the farthest north. This mission is now part of Sonoma State Historic Park.