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California Missions FoundationMay 2013   



The beginning of this year witnessed a tremendously successful transition for the California Missions Foundation. We not only relocated our headquarters to historic Santa Barbara but also hired a new Executive Director to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Knox Mellon and be at the helm of California's only statewide organization dedicated to preserving and restoring our 21 Alta California missions.


At our recent CMF board meeting at Mission San Buenaventura, we unanimously named Dr. Mellon as Executive Director Emeritus - a tribute to his years of dedicated service to CMF and preservation of California's pyramids.


David Bolton, CMF's new Executive Director, has hit the ground running. He has been working closely with each of the missions and their supporters in promoting mission preservation efforts. David brings to our organization not only a great entrepreneurial spirit but also savvy business acumen. He is one of the true go-getters!


A key part of this successful transition has been the addition of three outstanding new Board members: Milford Wayne Donaldson, Jock M. Sewall and Luis A. Gonzalez.


Wayne Donaldson is no stranger to historic preservation. He served as California's State Historic Preservation Officer from 2004 to 2012. In 2010 President Obama appointed him as Chairman of the nation's Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Wayne has had a lifelong interest in preserving California missions and historic structures.


Architect Jock Sewall is a noted author on mission and Mediterranean architecture. His lavishly-illustrated and well-received recent book California Mission Architecture: A Survey and Sourcebook compares architectural elements of our Alta California missions with those of other historic sites throughout Europe and the Middle East.


Luis Gonzalez is a Partner and Managing Director of Snowden Capital Advisors, a wealth management firm. Formerly with Merrill Lynch, he has earned the designation of Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor. An avid fan and voracious reader of history, he has a particular interest in the early history of the American West and its transformation.


These three individuals will help CMF continue all of the hard work that board members have undertaken during the past 14 years, and I am confident that they will help take CMF to new heights. 


CMF has done a tremendous amount since 1998, but much remains to be done. Your generosity and support have made all of this possible. Your continued interest will help us continue our vitally important efforts to preserve and restore Alta California's missions. Together we can do it.




Larry Gould






The California Missions Foundation has opened its 2013 grant application window for California's historic missions, and will continue to receive applications for a variety of projects until the closing of the window on July 31, 2013.


CMF has instituted a new policy and new procedures for the request of grants. All grant requests are now being received directly by staff in the newly-relocated CMF Santa Barbara office. The CMF office staff will be receiving, reviewing, and then in September, presenting all grant requests received to the full CMF Board for final review and award determination. The CMF Grants Committee has now become "a committee of the whole", the entire board, which is headed by CMF Chairman Larry Gould.


More detailed information on 2013 CMF Grants and the application, etc. can be found on the CMF web site, www.californiamissionsfoundation.org


CMF staff is also available to help each mission through this process, so please do not hesitate to call the CMF office at (805) 963-1633







Mission Soledad check presentation  


CMF Board Member Dr. Rubén Mendoza, along with CMF Executive Director David Bolton (to his right) presents a CMF grant check to Carlene Bell, president of the Soledad Mission Foundation.


Ms. Bell is flanked by students from Dr. Mendoza's Mission Archaeology Class at Cal State University, Monterey Bay, who, in the morning this day, worked to help excavate the foundation of the original Soledad Mission, and then, attended a demonstration and seminar on historic guns presented at Mission Soledad by gun expert Pete Anderson. Ms. Bell is holding one of those guns -- a modern Italian replica of a 2nd model British Brown Bess musket c. 1766.


Late Spanish and Mexican troops used this flintlock musket from 1810 on. The Mexican Army used the Brown Bess for almost all forces. Photo courtesy of Jewell Gentry.







San Antonio de Padua


In the portico of the convento wing at Mission San Antonio de Padua, CMF Board Member Carol Kenyon presents a grant check to Mission San Antonio de Padua Administrator Joan Steele during a recent CMF site visit which included Executive Director David Bolton.


The grant check, made possible by a generous contribution from the Linden Root Dickinson Foundation, is being used as part of Phase One of the overall $15 million retrofit of the entire mission complex.


Phase One, which ultimately will reach $6.8 million, includes retrofitting of the church and front columns, and remodeling of the visitor bathroom to make it ADA compliant. Photo courtesy of John Warren.










The California Missions Foundation will hold its September board meeting in Santa Cruz in honor of all of those who have contributed toward helping to keep the Santa Cruz State Historic Park open through generous donations. The Santa Cruz State Historic Park, and other state parks, were on the verge of closure last year. Friends of Santa Cruz work together with representatives of State Parks at the historic Santa Cruz site which is the only original portion of the mission complex still standing today.
In addition to keeping the State Park open, CMF grants in 2013 also went toward the on-going restoration of the historic statues at Mission Santa Cruz, including that of San Miguel (shown below in various stages of restoration). The statues were brought to the Alta California missions from Mexico in the mid to late 18th century. The San Miguel statue is currently being painstakingly restored through the efforts of Patty West at the South Coast Fine Art Conservation studios in Santa Barbara.



The face of the statue is original. It was covered with a thick gray surface dirt and the hair was very dirty. The eyes are original, however one is cracked. Photos courtesy of Patty West


The silver leaf with blue glaze is overpaint. The original paint is on the right, a brownish green color. The vermillion skirt was overpainted with a deeper red color.


San_Miguel Statue 03
The front has been partially cleaned. Not as much damage has been found as was anticipated.

A close-up of the back shoulder. Patty West, who is undertaking the statue restoration work found it interesting that the punch work trim has a bluish leaf design with a gold background, noting that she has never seen this before. West found a leaf design under the sleeves to the left of this trim, under the overpaint. The area to the right of the trim is a greenish brown of the bodice area. West made note that it seemed like someone was copying the usual colors of San Gabriel rather than San Miguel who typically has the green and red motive. 







Andy Galvan  


Mission assistance from CMF has been broad. In San Francisco, a CMF donation has made possible a memorial project currently under way by curator Andy Galvan (shown in this photo), which will list the names of all Native Americans buried at Mission San Francisco de Asís, including descendants of Mr. Galvan. The project includes not only a memorial in the cemetery but also an interactive video display in the mission's museum. Photo by David Bolton.








Recent studies at Mission Sonoma, part of the Sonoma State Historic Park, have revealed moisture and insect infiltration into the wood beams and adobe walls of the original Convento, or Padres' quarters - the oldest existing building at the historic site. The damaged Convento wall originally was built as an interior wall, but today stands as an exterior wall following the collapse of half of the Convento during the post mission period when many missions fell into disrepair.


William Randolph Hearst once owned the property and deeded the mission to the California State Parks which continues to operate this last of the Alta California missions today. This mission is the only Alta California mission, and just the second in both Alta and Baja Californias, to be founded during the Mexican period of the missions - a period which followed the end of Mexico's Independence War from Spain in 1821. A CMF Grant in 2013 is allowing for further study and much needed repair of this historic Mission Sonoma Convento Wing.






These photos show a portion of the Mission Sonoma Convento Wing and some of the moisture and insect damage that is in need of repair. This moisture damage is similar to the moisture damage in Mission Santa Barbara's Convento Wing. Both Conventos were originally made of adobe but later covered with cement about 50 years ago.


It is believed that the cement added in the 1950's is preventing the original adobe inside from breathing, and is the cause of some adobe decay inside the walls at both missions. Plans at the two sites -- Sonoma and Santa Barbara -- will be to remove the unfavorable cement and replace it with a material that will not cause the original adobe walls to further crumble from the inside. Photos by David Bolton.








During the past several years, CMF has worked closely with the National Park Service in Washington D.C. to obtain and administer a handful of Save America's Treasures (SAT) Grants for select Alta California Missions. These SAT Grants helped to rebuild the historic church at Mission San Miguel after the devastating 2003 Paso Robles earthquake, as well as helped to retrofit the Basilica Church at Mission Carmel, among other mission projects.



San Miguel Church
A repaired Mission San Miguel following an SAT Grant. Photo courtesy of Cultural Global Media



Carmel_Basilica_01  Carmel_Basilica_02

Final work continues on the historic Basilica Church at Mission Carmel. Photos by of David Bolton.






Recently, the final piece to the successful completion of the SAT Grant and related work at Mission San Luis Rey was put in place with the signing of a conservation easement between the Mission and the California Missions Foundation. The 50-year agreement assures the continued maintenance and repair of the Mission "so as to preserve the architectural, historical, and/or archeological integrity of the property and its materials to protect those qualities that made the (Mission) eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places."


As part of signing the easement with CMF, the Mission agrees to not demolish, construct, alter, or remodel in any way affecting the historically significant relevant exterior features or interior spaces.



Mission San Luis Rey during retrofit construction. Photo by David Bolton.


San Luis Rey Front
Mission San Luis Rey following successful completion of it's SAT work. Photo courtesy of Gwyn Grimes.





The last SAT Grant was awarded to Mission Santa Barbara which continues preservation and maintenance work at the 10th mission founded in the chain of 21. In late April, SAT funds were provided for the retrofit of the historic Mission Santa Barbara crypt, located adjacent to the altar rail inside the beautiful church. It is the only crypt at any of the 21 Alta California missions, and includes the remains of Gov. Figueroa, and members of the prominent De La Guerra family, plus distinguished Franciscans who have overseen mission activities in Santa Barbara since the mission's founding in 1786. Utilizing the services of Channel Coast Construction, the five-day retrofit of the crypt was successfully completed on schedule. This recent work at Mission Santa Barbara received the following media coverage:


KEYT-TV / ABC Affiliate Coverage


Santa Barbara Independent Coverage


Meanwhile, the next projects at Mission Santa Barbara will be - repairing portions of the mission façade and extensive work on the mission's historic Convento wing. CMF continues to administer the SAT Grant at Mission Santa Barbara with an April, 2015 deadline set by the National Park Service for the projects.







Efforts continue to take CMF's highly-popular All Aboard the Bus (AATB) Program statewide. AATB serves as an educational element of the California Missions Foundation, arranging for thousands of elementary school students to take field trips to our historic missions. Each year, CMF has granted fourth grade classes from Low Income Title 1 schools in Los Angeles and Monterey counties the necessary funds to pay for bus transportation to visit a local mission as part of their California mandated social studies curriculum.


This year's All Aboard the Bus Program has been CMF's largest and most successful to date awarding more than $52,000 in grants. In Los Angeles County, a total of 6,577 students from 62 elementary schools received grants to visit Mission San Gabriel, Mission San Luis Rey and Mission San Fernando. In Monterey County, 1,894 fourth grade students from 24 elementary schools will visit Mission San Juan Bautista, Mission Carmel, Mission Soledad and Mission San Antonio de Padua.



School Board  


(Above) CMF Executive Director David Bolton presents a grant check to Dr. Nancy Kotowski, Monterey County Superintendent of School, and Harvey Kuffner, Monterey County Board of Education President. Photo courtesy of Marci McFadden


Since its inception, CMF's All Aboard the Bus Program has been well received by School district staff, teachers and students. Weekly the CMF office receives mission field trip pictures along with appreciative thank you notes from teachers and students alike. One such example is a letter CMF received recently from fourth grader Marilyn at Russell Elementary School in Los Angeles following her classes field trip to Mission San Gabriel:


"Thank you for paying for our awesome field trip to Mission San Gabriel. I learned that the building is 240 years old and the mission is the only one with Moorish architecture. Also I learned that settlers from Mission San Gabriel founded the city of Los Angeles and that Mission San Gabriel is the oldest structure of it's kind south of Monterey. I really enjoyed visiting San Gabriel Mission. Thank you so much for paying for our field trip and I'll always be proud for what you people did for us."



Class Visit

(Above) CMF Executive Director David Bolton joins 4th grade teacher Krysta Bradley and her class from University Park Elementary School in Salinas during a CMF-sponsored All Aboard The Bus field trip to Mission San Juan Bautista.


"It is obvious the positive learning experience these children have while taking a field trip to their local mission and, with on-going statewide budget cuts, this program is now more important than ever," said CMF Executive Director David Bolton. "CMF staff is working to secure new contributors to this program in an effort to expand it statewide".


A partnership with the Santa Barbara Unified School District has already been secured for the 2013/2014 school year. SBUSD has 12 schools within its district that will qualify for next year's All Aboard the Bus program.


Several media outlets have reported on CMF's All Aboard the Bus Program including television station KION/KCBA in Monterey and The Salinas Californian newspaper. Please click the below links to see the stories.


New Funds Allow Students to Explore Local Missions (KION/KCBA)

Mission Foundation paves way to field trips (The Salinas Californian)







The California Missions Foundation is teaming up with the U.S. Consulate General's Office in Barcelona, Spain to feature the history of our California Missions during an upcoming gathering of leading dignitaries, government officials, business leaders and top military officers.


The annual event, held on the grounds of the U.S. Consulate compound n Barcelona and hosted by U.S. Consul General Tanya C. Anderson, generally falls around the U.S. July 4th Holiday. This year the gathering will be held on July 3.


CMF, working with its own archives as well as with publisher Pentacle Press, is providing the Consulate several images, plus maps, timelines and historical recaps of Alta California 21 missions. The event will include the who's who of Catalunya - an area of Spain that provided many settlers to our corner of the world during mission times.


"We generally have a gathering of more than 600 honored guests," said Mark R. Mineo, Political and Management Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Barcelona.

"This is the 300th anniversary of the birth year of Junípero Serra, and so there are a lot of things taking place throughout Spain, especially in Mallorca (where Serra was born) which was part of our Consulate District in the past."


This is also the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Spaniard Ponce de León in Florida.


"We're focusing on the missions because they are known to a small community here and we want to increase that awareness", said Mr. Mieno. "We have a shared culture, and we respect and appreciate that shared history."


"In Europe, you can't walk around without tripping over a castle," Mr. Mineo continued. "The missions are our castles in the U.S. and throughout much of the Americas."


Said CMF Executive Director David Bolton: "We are pleased to be working closely with the U.S. Consulate in Barcelona to share these Mission images and keep alive the mission story in a country that is responsible for these historic treasures that we have here today."










Spanish Cónsul General in Los Angeles Mr. Enrique Ruiz Molero made an official visit to Santa Barbara this past weekend to help commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, which oversees, among other properties, El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park and the historic Grist Mills at Mission Santa Inés.

In this photo, Mr. Ruiz is joined by CMF Executive Director David Bolton, SBTHP Executive Director Dr. Jarrell Jackman, and Ms. Jeannie Davis, a descendant of former Alta California Missions Sindicato (Treasurer) don José de la Guerra y Noriega who was born in Spain. In talks with CMF, Mr. Ruiz expressed a deep interest in preserving the Alta California missions and their history. Photo courtesy of Donna Long







The California Missions Foundation is pleased to offer a new way to show your support, by donating stock. When you donate stock to CMF you will not be responsible for paying taxes on said stock, however you will still receive full tax credit for the amount of the stock on the day you contribute. To donate please have your broker call UBS Financial Services at (201) 352-6300, with the following information:


Account Name: California Missions Foundation

DTCC Clearing Number: 0221

Account #: XN04920


As always please call Executive Director David Bolton at the CMF office with any questions at

(805) 963-1633.




You can help us to preserve California's historic missions and all their cultural treasures! 

Please call our office at (805) 963-1633 to donate by credit card, or click the button below to donate via PayPal!   


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About California Missions Foundation

Nothing defines California's heritage as significantly or emotionally as do the 21 missions that were founded along the coast from San Diego to Sonoma. Their beauty, stature, and character underlie the formation of California. All 21 missions are California Historical Landmarks; many have also been designated National Historic Landmarks. The missions are among the most popular tourist destinations in the state, attracting millions of visitors each year.

Founded in 1998, the California Missions Foundation was established with the objective of preserving and protecting the missions. The Foundation is the only statewide organization dedicated to the long-term preservation and restoration needs of all California missions and their associated historic and cultural resources for public benefit.

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