Mission San Fernando Rey de España
Mission San Fernando Rey de España, circa 1910.
|Location||15151 San Fernando Mission Blvd.
Mission Hills, Los Angeles, California 91345
|Name as founded||La Misión del Señor Fernando, Rey de España |
|English translation||The Mission of Saint Ferdinand, King of Spain|
|Patron||Ferdinand III of Castile|
|Nickname(s)||"Mission of the Valley" |
|Founding date||September 8, 1797 |
|Founding priest(s)||Father Fermín Lasuén |
|Native place name(s)||'Achooykomenga, Pasheeknga |
|Secularized||1834 (Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando)|
|Returned to the Church||1861|
|Governing body||Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles|
|Current use||Chapel-of-ease / Museum|
|U.S. National Register of Historic Places|
|NRHP designation date||1999|
|California Historical Landmark|
|Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument|
Mission San Fernando Rey de España is a Spanish mission in the Mission Hills district of Los Angeles, California. The mission was founded on September 8, 1797 near the site of the first gold discovery in Alta California, and was the seventeenth of the Spanish missions established in present-day California. Named for Saint Ferdinand, the mission is the namesake of the nearby city of San Fernando and the San Fernando Valley.
The mission was secularized in 1834 and returned to the Catholic Church in 1861; it became a working church in 1920. Today the mission grounds function as a museum; the church is a chapel of ease of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Mission San Fernando Rey de España was founded on September 8, 1797 by Father Fermín Lasuén, making it the fourth mission site he had established in as many months. The prime location the padre selected, located along the principal highway leading to the Pueblo de Los Angeles, had been occupied by Francisco Reyes (then Los Angeles' mayor). However, after brief negotiations construction of the first buildings was soon underway (Mission records list Reyes as godfather to the first infant baptized at San Fernando).
The goal of the missions was, above all, to become self-sufficient in relatively short order. Farming, therefore, was the most important industry of any mission. The Spanish did not understand the culture of the local natives, and in any case they intended that the natives conform to the plans of the mission, that they be taught about European agricultural practices, the mechanical arts, and the raising and care of livestock. By 1811, the natives produced all of the food at the missions, and sustained the military and civil government of California.
Bells were vitally important to daily life at any mission. The bells were rung at mealtimes, to call the Mission residents to work and to religious services, during births and funerals, to signal the approach of a ship or returning missionary, and at other times; novices were instructed in the intricate rituals associated with the ringing the mission bell.
A hundred-pound bell was unearthed in an orange grove near the Mission in 1920. It carried the following inscription (translated from Russian): "In the Year 1796, in the month of January, this bell was cast on the Island of Kodiak by the blessing of Archimandrite Joaseph, during the sojourn of Alexsandr Baranov." It is not known how this Russian Orthodox artifact from Kodiak, Alaska made its way to a Catholic mission in Southern California.
In 1845, Governor Pío Pico declared the Mission buildings for sale and, in 1846, made Mission San Fernando Rey de España his headquarters as Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando. The Mission was utilized in a number of ways during the late 19th century: north of the mission was the site of Lopez Station for the Butterfield Stage Lines; it served as a warehouse for the Porter Land and Water Company; and in 1896, the quadrangle was used as a hog farm. San Fernando's church became a working church again in 1923 when the Oblate priests arrived. Many attempts were made to restore the old Mission from the early 20th century, but it was not until the Hearst Foundation gave a large gift of money in the 1940s, that the Mission was finally restored. Later, the 1971 San Fernando earthquake damaged the church, which had to be completely rebuilt. The repairs were completed in 1974. It continues to be very well cared for and is still used as a chapel-of-ease. In 2003 comedian Bob Hope was interred in the Bob Hope Memorial Gardens.
In popular culture
- The sanctuary interior was used for Dragnet 1969's episode 15, "The Christmas Story".
- The tour interior and courtyard scenes of the Alamo in Pee-wee's Big Adventure were shot here in 1985.
A statue of Father Junípero Serra and a native child at Mission San Fernando.
- Convento Building (Mission San Fernando)
- List of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments in the San Fernando Valley
- Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando
- San Fernando Mission Cemetery
- USNS Mission San Fernando (AO-122) – a Mission Buenaventura Class fleet oiler built during World War II.
- Leffingwell, p. 49
- Krell, p. 263
- Ruscin, p. 137
- Yenne, p. 148
- Ruscin, p. 196
- Forbes, p. 202
- Ruscin, p. 195
- Krell, p. 315: as of December 31, 1832; information adapted from Engelhardt's Missions and Missionaries of California.
- Los Angeles Department of City Planning (September 7, 2007). "Historic - Cultural Monuments (HCM) Listing: City Declared Monuments" (PDF format; requires Adobe Reader). City of Los Angeles. Retrieved May 29, 2008.
- Young, p. 39
- Engelhardt 1922, p. 211
- Engelhardt, Zephyrin, O.F.M. (1922). San Juan Capistrano Mission. Standard Printing Co., Los Angeles, CA.
- Forbes, Alexander (1839). California: A History of Upper and Lower California. Smith, Elder and Co., Cornhill, London.
- Fedorova, Svetlana G., trans. & ed. by Richard A. Pierce and Alton S. Donnelly (1973). The Russian Population in Alaska and California: Late 18th Century – 1867. Limestone Press, Kingston, Ontario. ISBN 0-919642-53-5.
- Jones, Terry L. and Kathryn A. Klar (eds.) (2007). California Prehistory: Colonization, Culture, and Complexity. Altimira Press, Landham, MD. ISBN 0-7591-0872-2.
- Krell, Dorothy (ed.) (1979). The California Missions: A Pictorial History. Sunset Publishing Corporation, Menlo Park, CA. ISBN 0-376-05172-8.
- Paddison, Joshua (ed.) (1999). A World Transformed: Firsthand Accounts of California Before the Gold Rush. Heyday Books, Berkeley, CA. ISBN 1-890771-13-9.
- Ruscin, Terry (1999). Mission Memoirs. Sunbelt Publications, San Diego, CA. ISBN 0-932653-30-8.
- Wright, R. (1950). California's Missions. Hubert A. and Martha H. Lowman, Arroyo Grande, CA.
- Yenne, Bill (2004). The Missions of California. Thunder Bay Press, San Diego, CA. ISBN 1-59223-319-8.
- Young, S., and Levick, M. (1988). The Missions of California. Chronicle Books LLC, San Francisco, CA. ISBN 0-8118-3694-0.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mission San Fernando Rey de España.|
- Mass Times
- Elevation & Site Layout sketches of the Mission proper
- California Missions: Mission San Fernando Rey de España – history and information
- Andrés Pico Adobe
- Early photographs, sketches, land surveys of Mission San Fernando Rey de España, via Calisphere, California Digital Library
- Listing, photographs, and drawings of church at the Historic American Buildings Survey
- Listing and photographs of fountains at the Historic American Buildings Survey
- Listing, photographs, and drawings of monastery at the Historic American Buildings Survey
- Howser, Huell (December 8, 2000). "California Missions (102)". California Missions. Chapman University Huell Howser Archive.