This month, we're profiling Mission San Antonio de Padua, located in Jolon, California (MAP).
Mission San Antonio was founded July 14, 1771. Friar Junipero Serra led a small party to the site of the original mission, erected a bell, and rang it loudly to attract the attention of the local Salinans. The temporary wooden structures of the original mission were supplanted by adobe buildings when the complex was relocated to the present site in 1793 due to drought. San Antonio was the first California mission to adopt the use of fired roof and floor tiles. A central quadrangle contained granaries, storage facilities, and manufacturing areas.
Due to summer drought, irrigation works were important from the earliest years. San Antonio was the first mission to develop such a system, supporting a growing population, greater crop production, and larger herds of livestock. With a homogenous native population and located distantly from the major ports and military establishments, the mission developed peacefully over a span of 60 years.
Mission San Antonio gradually fell into decay following secularization in 1834. The mission was staffed with Hispanic Franciscans and a small congregation of faithful neophytes until 1883, when it was completely abandoned. Visited occasionally by Victorian picnickers, the church of 1813 was eventually restored by the Historic Landmarks League in 1906. The restoration had to be repeated in the same year due to the effects of the San Francisco earthquake. (Learn more about the history of Mission San Antonio, or visit the Mission's website.)
Various restoration projects continue today, with the assistance of California Missions Foundation. CMF recently awarded a $23,000 grant to Mission San Antonio for the restoration of historic artworks housed at the mission. The story was covered by KSBW TV-8 News. Their report includes comments from CMF Executive Director Knox Mellon and Mission San Antonio's Joan Steele. Click the image below to watch the segment online: