Mission San Francisco
Asis was founded on
October 9, 1776 by Father Francisco Palou. It was the 6th mission in
the 21 mission chain in Alta California. It was named for Saint
Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan order. The name
Mission Dolores is used to refer to Mission San Francisco de Asis.
Juan Bautista de Anza named the river near where the mission was
later founded, Arroyo de los Dolores. The church is 114 feet long and
22 feet wide. It has remained unharmed and relatively unchanged since
its construction in 1782.
No Indians came to the
founding ceremony of
Mission San Francisco de Asis. They returned to the area about a
month later, and were scared by the guns of the white men. The
Coastonoan Indians did not do well at this mission. They were treated
poorly by the padres. The padres were very strict and only fed the
Indians dry grain. Many of the Indians ran away from the mission
until new padres were sent to the mission. The Spanish brought great
sickness and disease to the mission Indians. After 10 years, only a
few Indians remained at the mission. Disease was so great that there
are over 5,000 Indians buried in the mission cemetery. Many of the
Indians went to Mission San Rafael to live in the better weather.
There were around 6,500 Indians baptized, 2,000 married and over
5,000 buried at the Mission San Francisco de Asis.
The economy of the
missions were similar to
each other in that they planted crops of wheat and corn. They also
planted vineyards, and raised cattle and sheep. The agriculture was
needed not only to maintain the mission community and the nearby
Indians, but was used for trade and served to visitors to the
mission. Mission San Francisco struggled its whole life to support
itself. The mission had a very hard time growing crops and raising
herds. Most of the food came from lands that the mission owned 19
miles south of the mission. Life was so hard at this mission, that
there was much discussion between the leaders on whether or not to
close this mission.
The city of San
grew as the mission
community diminished. Many of the Indians did not want to live in a
city which was growing around the mission. The quadrangle was finally
completed in 1798, 22 years after the founding of the mission.
After Mexico won its
Spain, it found that it could no longer afford to keep the missions
running as Spain had done. In 1834, Mexico decided to end the mission
system and sell all of the lands. They offered the lands to the
Indians who did not want the lands or could not come up with the
purchase price. The lands were divided into smaller Ranchos and sold
to Mexican citizens who were helpful during the war for independence.
After nearly 30 years, the missions were returned to the Catholic
Church. Although some of the missions had already been returned to
the church, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed an Act
declaring that all of the 21 missions in the California mission chain
would become the property of the Catholic Church and have remained so
since that time. Mission San Francisco de Asis was the first mission
to be secularized. In 1845, Pio Pico warned the Indians that if they
did not return to the mission then it would be sold. No Indians came
and no one even wanted to buy the mission. By the time that the Gold
Rush began in 1848, the city of San Francisco had grown tremendously.
There were even saloons and two race tracks on the mission
The mission church has
stood and remained
unchanged since its beginning. During the 1906 earthquake, the huge
basilica next to the small mission church fell and was destroyed, but
the Mission San Francisco de Asis remained unharmed. In 1971 some of
the wooded beams were strengthened with hidden steel beams. The
church was reinforced but not changed or rebuilt.
Mission San Francisco
Asis is still an
active church in the city of San Francisco. Many people attend
services in the mission church and even more attend mass in the
basilica next door to the mission church. The mission is open to
visitors and is a wonderful legacy to the old ways of the
Objective: answer 7 questions correctly.
disabled. Get Netscape 3.0
or turn it on!
Bautista de Anza
2. Mission San Francisco de Asis was
3. What Indian Tribe was in the area of
4. Mission San Francisco de Asis is know
5. Who did the actual building of the
6. What happened to the missions in 1834?
Indians took over
7. The church at Mission San Francisco de
destroyed in 1906 by an
largest of any mission
remained unchanged since its
rebuilt in 1958
8. Most of the food at the mission came
land 19 miles away
crops grown in the quadrangle
9. What happened in 1845?
mission was sold for $500
were taken over by Mexican
wanted to buy the mission
10. What did Abraham Lincoln agree to in
return the Mission lands to
President of the United
the San Antonio de Padua
the Indians to leave the
Mission Internet Trail
Spanish Missions of California
San Francisco De Asis (Mission Dolores)
- Registered Landmark Number One ...."
exterior photos of present-day mission structure, historical
photographs 1816-1906, 2 floor plans and elevations done by the WPA
for the Historic American Buildings Survey, some historical data, and
San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores) State Historic
- Photos of plaque and
mission, visitor information
- Today there
are only two cemeteries within San Francisco City limits, and one of
them is at Mission Dolores. This site will tell you why. A link will
take you to four photographs of the mission and its cemetery.
This project written by Rob
partial fulfilment of
of Arts Degree
Please send questions
and/or comments to Mr.
This page last updated
on February 28, 2015