Monday, September 30, 2013

EARLY RESTORATION OF THE MISSION SAN FERNANDO REY de ESPANA

CHERISHING OUR VALLEY                                2013


     Fortunately for us, the monks of the Mission San Fernando Rey de EspaƱa were pretty good record keepers. Detailed records were not only important to the Catholic church but also the imperial Spanish government. During the era of Spanish / Mexican colonialism, there just weren't that many buildings in Alta California. So, descriptions made by early American interlopers were often quite detailed.        
     Records of about the Mission San Fernando would prove very important when it came time to restore this priceless old complex badly damaged by neglect, weather, vandalism and earthquakes. By the time these great old photographs were taken, some restoration of the Mission's arches and main buildings had already begun (bright whitewashed parts of the photos.)
     With Mission irrigation ditches long neglected only a few of the most drought tolerant trees remained at the onset of the 20th century. Looking at the Mission today from Brand Park, it is hard to imagination the desolation shown in these old time images. 

 The reason the Franciscan priests selected the site of the Mission San Fernando is still evident in this turn of the 20th century photograph, where a district strip of foliage is seen, surrounding the Mission.
 (Click on these images to enlarge them.)

 The Mission's facade is recently restored in this picture.

 Olives and palms were important survivors of the Mission era.



 The straight furrows of the Mission campo reveal the area's use for agriculture.

 In 1890 the chapel roof of the Mission collapsed. I suppose this was a time when it wasn't really dangerous to enter a red tagged building - or were there red tags back then?

 From a wagon trail to a parade of new-fangled automobiles.


Before the interior structure of the old Mission were restored. 
In the center of the picture is the Mission chapel visited by Pope John Paul II of the Roman Catholic Church when he came to Los Angeles.

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