Mission San Gabriel
Arcangel was founded on
September 8, 1771 by Father Junipero Serra, Presidente of the
California Missions Chain. It was the 4th mission in the 21 mission
chain in Alta California. It was named for the Archangel Gabriel. The
mission was designed by Father Antonio Cruzado with the front of the
mission actually being a side wall. The entrance to the mission is on
the side of the building.
There are nearly 6,000
Indians buried at
Mission San Gabriel Arcangel. The Indians near the mission were from
the Gabrielino Tribe. At first there was trouble with the Indians as
the soldiers treated them very poorly. But in time, the padres gained
the Indians confidence as soon there were many Indians living at the
mission. Many of the Indians were hired as labourers in the pueblo of
Mission San Gabriel was a
busy and active
mission. The economy at Mission San Gabriel Arcangel was similar to
the other missions 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. The mission grew large crops of food such as corn and beans.
It was also well known for its fine wines, and most of the soap and
candles used at the other missions were made at the Mission San
The El Camino Real was
the main road that
connected all of the 21 mission together. However, Mission San
Gabriel Arcangel was reached by 3 roads; the El Camino Real, one from
Mexico and the third from the East Coast of the United States of
America. The mission was always a center of activity with many
travellers and guests. Settlers came to the area from many different
places. They established towns called pueblos; the one near the
mission was the Pueblo de Los Angeles, or commonly know today as Los
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.
Governor Pio Pico broke the law on May 4, 1846, he sold the mission
lands and used the money to pay off his personal debt. 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
For nearly 20 years, the
neglected and deserted. The church was used as a parish church for
the city of San Gabriel from 1862 until 1908. In 1908, the Claretian
Missionary Fathers came to San Gabriel and began the job of
rebuilding and restoring the mission. On October 1, 1987 the
Whittier-Narrows earthquake damaged the mission. It took many years
to repair the buildings from the earthquake and the restoration
Today, the Mission San
Gabriel Arcangel is
very active and busy. It sits at the intersection of Mission
Boulevard and Junipero Serra Avenue in the City of San Gabriel. The
intersection also has railroad tracks which are used daily. All day
long cars, trucks and trains pass by the mission. It is near the
center of town and remains an important part of the city.
disabled. Get Netscape 3.0
or turn it on!
2. Mission San Gabriel Arcangel was founded....?
3. What Indian Tribe was in the area of the San
4. What was a town near a mission called?
5. Who did the actual building of the missions?
6. What happened to the missions in 1834?
Indians took over
7. San Gabriel Arcangel is the only mission...?
been completely rebuilt
entrance on the side
8. The pueblo that grew up near the Mission San
Gabriel is now
9. What happened in 1846?
were taken over by Mexican
illegally sold the mission
10. What did Abraham Lincoln agree to in 1863?
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
This project written by Rob
partial fulfilment of
of Arts Degree
from Cal Poly
Please send questions
and/or comments to
This page last updated on July 15, 2010