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Mission San Miguel | by Harold Litwiler, Poppy
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Mission San Miguel

San Miguel Mission,


Mission San Miguel is one of California's historical and cultural treasures. The beautiful old adobe building, whose foundations were laid more than 200 years ago, is a precious part of our heritage, with a story that is integral to California's history.

Mission San Miguel - named for the Archangel Saint Michael - was founded by Franciscan Father Fermin Francisco de Lasuen in 1797, and was meant to close the gap between Mission San Antonio to the north and Mission San Luis Obispo to the south. Father Buenaventura Sitjar, who had ministered for years at Mission San Antonio and was fluent in the local Salinan language, baptized 25 youth on the day the Mission was established.

A temporary church was built in 1797 but was lost to fire in 1806 - at a time when more than 1,000 Salinans were living and working at the mission. Soon after the fire, preparations for a new adobe church began. Tiles and adobe blocks were made and stored before the stone foundation of the church was laid in 1816. By 1821 the church building was complete, along with the interior frescos designed by Esteban Munras.

San Miguel Mission property extended 18 miles to the north and 18 miles to the south, 66 miles to the east and 35 miles to the Pacific Ocean. The success of the Mission was due largely to Father Juan Martin who served here from the beginning until 1824.

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Taken on September 1, 2014