California Missions Foundation and
California Mission Studies Association

Fall 2015


El Camino Real de las Californias UNESCO Nomination Project press conference held at the historic San Diego Presidio site.

(From left to right) Honorary Consul of Spain María Ángeles O'Donnell-Olson
; CMF Executive Director David A. Bolton; CMF Chairman Milford Wayne Donaldson, FAIA; CAREM President Hernán Ibañez; CAREM Executive Director Zella Ibañez; and  INAH B.C. Delegate Julia Bendímez.


SAN DIEGO, CA - On the site of the original Presidio in San Diego, two leading organizations dedicated to historic preservation in their respective countries announced a Bi-National Initiative to work toward earning an UNESCO World Heritage Nomination for El Camino Real de las Californias.
The U.S.-based California Missions Foundation (CMF) and the Mexico-based Corredor Histórico CAREM, A.C. are teaming up to bring recognition and awareness to El Camino Real de las Californias -- a historic corridor stretching from Los Cabos in Baja California Sur to Sonoma in northern California.
Flanked by representatives of the U.S., Mexico and Spain, the leaders of California Missions Foundation and Corredor Histórico CAREM, A.C. outlined plans for this multi-year, Bi-National Initiative that will include partnering with government agencies in both the U.S. and Mexico, including Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia or INAH, US/ICOMOS, California State Parks, the National Parks Service as well as with the San Diego Maritime Museum, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, Historical Organizations, Native American groups and many other organizations. In addition, this Bi-National Initiative will include community members from a variety of backgrounds including historians, Native American groups and other experts in both countries.
"Today we reaffirm our mutual commitment to begin our shared vision of El Camino de la Californias as a World Heritage Site in partnership with Mexico and Spain." said Milford Wayne Donaldson, FAIA, chairman of California Missions Foundation.  "We also embark on a journey to tell the world of our true origin story of European contact in the United States, not as Pilgrims and the Mayflower in 1620 but as Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo in 1542 as he sailed San Salvador into San Diego harbor. When we succeed, California will add it's first cultural World Heritage Site to our two natural sites, Yosemite and the Redwoods. Together, as signatory nations, we will work as one comunidad to not only protect the El Camino de la Californias outstanding universal value, but also to bring us together as familia to learn about our common histories as we tell our stories."
El Camino Real de las Californias was officially given its name during the Spanish period, and continues as a much-travelled route today. Originally using trails first transversed by Native Americans, El Camino Real de las Californias has seen slight modifications over the years.
Throughout history, El Camino Real de las Californias has linked Missions, Presidios, Asistencias, Ranchos and Pueblos. Today it continues to link important cultural, historic, natural landscapes, ecology, and urban centers in both countries.
"The Camino Real de las Californias represents a cultural route that will be of universal value," said CAREM President Hernán Ibañez. "The peninsula of Baja California, Mexico is an enthusiastic partner in this effort."
"This designation could mean a powerful tool for landscape preservation, a way to engage and value living peoples and to preserve historical touchstones (missions, trails, rock art and indigenous sites and traditions)," said Julia Bendimez, regional director for INAH in the state of Baja California.
Unlike other Caminos Reales in the Americas, and unique to California, El Camino Real de las Californias had both a land and maritime component.
"As many historians are aware, more often than not California was depicted as an island completely detached from the rest of continental North America in maps from the beginning of the seventeenth century until well into the eighteenth century," said Dr. Ray Ashley, president and CEO of the San Diego Maritime Museum. "While this is now considered the longest running cartographic error in the history of mapmaking, in one sense it wasn't an error at all. California was, to all practical purposes, connected to the rest of the world mainly by water during the age of sail and not only functioned as an island, but itself was a series of islands connected to each other by a network of missions, presidios, and ranchos, linked through a series of ports and the ships which used them. Thus, the El Camino Real de las Californias wasn't simply a road linking missions, but an early intermodal transportation network in which the majority of goods, people, knowledge, and political power moved principally by sea and then diffused over land."
As part of the work ahead for this Bi-National Initiative, a series of working sessions and summits are being planned to explore all aspects of a World Heritage Nomination for El Camino Real de las Californias. First up will be an INAH-sponsored two-day gathering in Ensenada, B.C. December 9-10, followed by the 33rd California Missions Conference this February in San Juan Bautista, CA that will feature as its 2016 theme, "El Camino Real de las Californias." The California Missions Foundation and the California Mission Studies Association merge officially this January 1 and the February event will be their first combined conference.
"Along El Camino Real that began with presidios, pueblos, ranchos, and missions, a new civilization was born harnessing the energies of many peoples and cultures and laying the foundations for the Californias we all live in today." said Dr. Jarrell Jackman, executive director, Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.

"This designation could mean a powerful tool for landscape preservation, a way to engage and value living peoples and to preserve historical touchstones (missions, trails, rock art and indigenous sites and traditions)," said Julia Bendímez, one of two delegates for Mexico's INAH throughout the Baja California peninsula.

World Heritage Designation by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) signifies being of special cultural or physical significance. There are nearly 1,000 designated sites worldwide, including 33 in Mexico and 23 in the United States. El Camino Real de las Californias would be the first Bi-National Nomination for the two countries.

"So many people have spent so many years researching, studying and understanding El Camino Real de las Californias," said CMF Executive Director David A. Bolton. "This Bi-National effort to receive UNESCO World Heritage Nomination is a tribute to not only those individuals but also to everyone that has travelled the trails, routes and roads of El Camino Real de las Californias from Native American groups to the Spanish, from those in Mexico today to those in the United States."

El Camino Real de las Californias supporters (from left) Zella Ibañez, historian Dr. Iris Engstrand, and Milford Wayne Donaldson, FAIA.


Mission San Juan Bautista

33nd Annual Conference to return to SJB for first time since 1989

The Board of Directors has unanimously chosen Mission San Juan Bautista as the host location for the upcoming 33rd Annual California Missions Conference, scheduled for February 12-14, 2016. The three-day event, which begins on Friday and wraps on Sunday, will return to Mission San Juan Bautista for the first time since 1989 -- the sixth year of the annual gathering.
Other than Missions San Jose, San Juan Capistrano and Santa Clara, no other location has waited longer to re-host the California Missions Conference than Mission San Juan Bautista.
The Conference will begin Friday with an optional historic lunch at the Mission, followed by a full afternoon of workshops focusing on historic site interpretation for historic site employees, docents and administrators. Tours of the surrounding neighborhood of San Juan Bautista, including California State Parks and Native American sites, will also be featured.
That Friday evening, as is tradition, there will be a hosted reception for attendees, followed by a musical performance in the mission church and the annual business and general membership meeting.
Saturday the Conference will focus on the Paper Presentations, with lunch served at the mission. That Saturday evening the Annual Conference Awards Banquet will be held at the Mission with the prestigious California Missions Awards handed out.
Sunday the Conference wraps up with an optional historic site tour for those unable to make Friday's tour or for those who attended the Friday afternoon historic sites' workshops.



Call for Papers to Present at Upcoming Conference

The California Mission Studies Paper and Publication Committee has chosen, "El Camino Real de las Californias" as the theme for the upcoming conference. 
According to long-time CMSA member and current CMF board member Dr. Jarrell Jackman: "Along El Camino Real that began with presidios, pueblos, ranchos, and missions, a new civilization was born harnessing the energies of many peoples and cultures and laying the foundations for the Californias we all live in today."
If you would like to submit a presentation for consideration for the upcoming 2016 California Missions Conference sponsored by the California Missions Foundation and the California Mission Studies Committee, please send via email to:
1. An abstract of 100 to 200 words. Indicate if it is a single presentation (20 min including     questions.), or a panel session (60 min.)
2. Names of all presenters, affiliation(s), contact information (including e-mail)
3. Audio-visual requirements
Abstracts are due by email by December 15, 2015 attention California Missions Conference Program Coordinators.



The Hilton Garden Inn in nearby Gilroy has agreed to be the host hotel for the 2016 California Missions Conference and is offering a special Conference rate of $129/night for Conference attendees. 
In order to book your room for the 2016 California Missions Conference, please call the hotel directly at 408-840-7005  and ask for reservations. Or you may book your room at or by calling 1-800-Hiltons. Please be sure to use the group code "CMF" when booking your room to receive the special Conference price.
Again, the Conference will be held over President's Weekend, so hotel rooms will fill up.
Hilton Garden Inn Gilroy
6070 Monterey Street
Gilroy, CA 95020


Milford Wayne Donaldson, FAIA; Chair
Jim Lazarus; Vice Chair
David L. Peri; Treasurer
Dr. Edith L. Piness; Secretary
Stephen J. Farneth, FAIA
Luis A. Gonzalez
Dr. Robert L. Hoover
Dr. Jarrell Jackman
Carol Kenyon
Dr. Ruben Mendoza
Donn Schoenmann
Jock Sewall
Ty O. Smith
Ione R. Stiegler, FAIA
Dr. Jack Williams

CMF Staff:
David A. Bolton, Executive Director and CEO
Gabriela Gonzalez, Director of Administration

Ty O. Smith, President
Nick Tipon, Vice President
Mike Imwalle, Treasurer
Mary Susa, Secretary

David A. Bolton, Immediate Past President
Bettie Allen
Maureen Bourbin
Cassidy DeBaker
Elisse La Barre
Lee Paninch
Mary Wood


To view the most recent fiscal year (July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015) income statement for CMSA, please click here.




A wide-variety of preservation grants were awarded by the CMF Board of Directors at its recent meeting in Historic Sonoma. 
In all, a total of 18 grants were given ranging from historic structural repairs to art and artifact conservation to archiving. 
These recent CMF grants were awarded in memory of long-time CMF and CMSA board members and historic preservationists David Belardes and Helen Nelson. 


recent major anonymous $100,000 gift to the California Missions Foundation will mean a great deal for the organization's preservation efforts as CMF nears the end of 2015.
The generous gift will help CMF in its on-going efforts to raise important funding to preserve California's Missions and related historic sites. 
News of this anonymous gift pushes CMF's 2015 contributions to $1.35 million --  making this calendar year the biggest in CMF history

The work of CMF continues... 

Buen Provecho!

A Taste of Foods Found Along El Camino Real de las Californias

By David A. Bolton

Historic foods found Along El Camino Real continue to make their way into our kitchens, restaurants and dinner tables today. I have enjoyed investigating, uncovering the origins and explaining the recipes of many of the dishes for everyone during the past four years in this CMSA newsletter column. Now, as we move closer to becoming a combined family promoting everything that is found along El Camino Real, from Missions to Asistencias, from Presidios to Ranchos, we bring you a look back at four years of the CMSA food corner - Buen Provecho!




Membership is still possible in 2015 for CMSA, with all members receiving a complimentary hard copy of the acclaimed Boletín this fall. There are several categories of membership, including the Supporter's Circle. If you are interested in joining CMSA for 2015, please click here. Thanks for your continued support of the California Missions.






23 - Mission San Juan Capistrano: Historic bells Ring: Feast of St. John of Capistrano 12:00 p.m.

23 - Mission Sonoma: Legends and Lore Plaza Tour, 6:30 p.m., Adults $5, Youth $3.50, 12 & under free.

24 - Mission Santa Cruz: Wool spinning and Weaving, 1:00 - 3:30 p.m.

24 - Mission Sonoma: Nature Walk, 12:00 p.m.

25 - Mission San Luis Rey: Dia de los Muertos 10:00 .m. - 5:00 p.m. Free admission, Parking $5 and free shuttle buses.

25 - El Presidio de Santa Barbara: Dia de los Muertos Craft Day, 12:00 - 3:00 p.m., at Casa de la Guerra.

30 - Mission Sonoma: Campfire Costume Night, 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.

31 - Mission Santa Cruz: Drop in Family Craft - Papel Picado, 1:00 - 3:30 p.m.

1 - Mission San Diego: All Souls Memorial Mass 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Mission Church.

7 - Mission La Purisima Concepcion: Village Days, 11:00 - 2:00.

7 - Mission San Antonio de Padua: Evening in the Garden, 4:00 - 8:00 p.m., Cost $50 per person, $60 at the door, Sensory Event $120 per person. Call (831) 385-4478 ext. 10 for more details on this year's event.

7 - Mission Santa Cruz: Building Methods at the Mission, 1:00 p.m.

8 - Mission Dolores: Angela Kraft Cross, The Second Sunday, Organ Recital Series, Third Season 2015 - 2016.

8-12 - Mission San Miguel: A Healing Retreat, a non-denominational journey, for retreat application or further information register online at

12 - Mission Sonoma: Lecture, "The Real Causes and Significance of the Bear Flag Revolt", 7:00 p.m., General public $10; Association members $5, Docents and students free.

14 - Mission San Miguel: Special Bingo, doors open at 10:00 a.m., Parish Hall. For more information, please contact Maria at (805) 467-2131.

15 - Mission Sonoma:26th Annual Victorian Christmas Crafts Workshop, 11:00 - 3:00 p.m., $3.

21 - Mission San Buenaventura: Mass presided by Bishop Gomez in celebration of the canonization of St. Junipero Serra, 6:00 p.m.

26 - Mission San Diego: Thanksgiving Liturgy 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.

4 - Mission Santa Barbara: St. Barbara's Feast Day.

4 - Mission San Luis Rey: Christmas Convert and Dessert Reception, ticket prices vary, more details on website.

4 - Mission San Buenaventura: Christmas tree lighting 4:00.

8 - Mission La Purisima Concepcion: Founding Day Remembrance 2015; tickets will be required, events for this observation are:  Founding Day Mass 2015, 12:00 p.m. and Founding Day Concert 2015, 7:00 p.m.

9-10 - Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico: Working Session: El Camino Real de las Californias.

12 - Mission Sonoma: Christmas at the Mission, 4:30 p.m., Four candelight choral sessions in the Mission Chapel at 4:30, 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 PM with the high school choir leading the sing along. Campfire in the Barracks courtyard with musical interludes led by Philip Herrschaft and Alex Coburn, and refreshments served in the breezeway. The Pickle Creek Jug Band will once again entertain visitors at the Toscano Hotel. Tickets for the Mission Chapel performances will be distributed on Saturday Nov 21, at 10:00 AM in front of the Mission. A donation of $2.50 per ticket is suggested, with a maximum of four tickets per recipient. Questions and offers to volunteer should be addressed to

19-20 - Mission San Diego: Candlelight Mediation 7:30 - 8:30 p.m.
February 2016

12- 14 - 33rd Annual California Missions Conference sponsored by California Missions Foundation and the California Mission Studies Committee, Mission San Juan Bautista.

14 - Mission Dolores: Hans Hielscher, The Second Sunday, Organ Recital Series, Third Season 2015 - 2016.




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 A. 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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