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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

On A Mission, Mission San Francisco Sonoma, That Is

We visited Mission San Francisco Solano on Monday, on K’s furlough day. K now has one mandatory furlough day per month, along with all management employees at the City. We decided to use each furlough day to do something fun and different. K chose her day well, the weather was unseasonably beautiful. We had sunny skies and high temperatures in the 70’s.

The Mission is located adjacent to the town square in Sonoma, which is a beautiful small city surrounded by vineyards and gentle green hills. The mission looked exactly how I would expect a mission to look.

This mission’s history is tied to General Vallejo, who was a pretty interesting guy. He managed to prosper under Spanish, Mexican, and American rule. No small task. This is the only mission built by the Mexico, and it is the last mission built in California. Mexico wanted a mission further inland than San Francisco, whose damp weather had caused health problems, and they wanted a military presence closer to the Russian outpost at Fort Ross. In 1834, the mission was secularized and General Vallejo was given command. The original Franciscans had more or less given up on the mission after a revolt of the much abused neophytes (Christianized natives) in 1826. It’s amazing they didn’t revolt in all the missions, given the inhumane treatment they received. However, it is interesting that the clay roofs we associate with mission architecture were developed in response to the need for roofs that could withstand flaming arrows.

One of the barracks rooms was been restored. What seemed strange to me was the short length of the sabers. Perhaps the troops didn’t anticipate using them on horseback. I liked seeing the classic Zorro felt hat on the shelf.

These barracks have their own historical relevance. Their soldiers ignited the Bear Flag Rebellion , and revolted in the mission’s plaza. Supposedly, the flag was crafted in the room you see here.

The original flag was lost in a fire following the San Francisco Earthquake, but some folks made a detailed copy in 1905. That flag is displayed at the mission.

The mission’s church was decorated in the early 20th century, and it is a good example awesomely strange interiors you can see in Mexican churches all over California.

This mission is run as the State Park, and it has a great museum. It’s worth a visit.

General Vallejo’s house is a ten minute walk from the mission, across beautiful trails. Central Sonoma is gorgeous. The house itself is a Victorian, filled with knickknacks built by a man who was above all a modern man of his age.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

1 comment:

spanish mission archi said...

well i also want to visit this place.

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