Mission San Juan Bautista

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This article is about Mission San Juan Bautista in California. For other missions named "San Juan Bautista", see Mission San Juan Bautista (disambiguation).
Mission San Juan Bautista
Mission San Juan Bautista
A view of the restored Mission San Juan Bautista and its added three-bell campanario ("bell wall") in 2010. Two of the bells were salvaged by Father Nick Senf in 2009 from the original chime, which was destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
Mission San Juan Bautista is located in California
Mission San Juan Bautista
Location of Mission San Juan Bautista in California
Location 406 2nd Street
San Juan Bautista, California 95045
Coordinates 36°50′42″N 121°32′09″W / 36.845083°N 121.535889°W / 36.845083; -121.535889Coordinates: 36°50′42″N 121°32′09″W / 36.845083°N 121.535889°W / 36.845083; -121.535889
Name as founded La Misión del Glorios Precursor de Jesu Cristo, Nuestro Señor San Juan Bautista [1]
English translation The Mission of the Glorious Precursor of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Saint John the Baptist
Patron Saint John the Baptist [2]
Nickname(s) "Mission of Music" [3]
Founding date June 24, 1797 [4]
Founding priest(s) Father Fermín Lasuén [5]
Founding Order Fifteenth [2]
Military district Third [6]
Native tribe(s)
Spanish name(s)
Mutsun, Yokuts
Native place name(s) Popeloutchom [7]
Baptisms 4,106 [8]
Marriages 1,003 [8]
Burials 2,854 [8]
Secularized 1835 [2]
Returned to the Church 1859 [2]
Governing body Roman Catholic Diocese of Monterey
Current use Parish Church
Reference no.
  1. 195

Mission San Juan Bautista is a Spanish mission in San Juan Bautista, San Benito County, California. Founded on June 24, 1797 by Fermín Lasuén of the Franciscan order, the mission was the fifteenth of the Spanish missions established in present-day California. Named for Saint John the Baptist, the mission is the namesake of the city of San Juan Bautista.

Barracks for the soldiers, a nunnery, the Jose Castro House, and other buildings were constructed around a large grassy plaza in front of the church and can be seen today in their original form. The Ohlone, the original residents of the valley, were brought to live at the mission and baptized, followed by Yokuts from the Central Valley. Mission San Juan Bautista has served mass daily since 1797, and today functions as a parish church of the Diocese of Monterey.


Following its creation in 1797, San Juan's population grew instinctlyntly in the 1958 Alfred Hitchcock film Vertigo. Associate producer Herbert Coleman's daughter Judy Lanini suggested the mission to Hitchcock as a filming location. A steeple, added sometime after the mission's original construction and secularization, had been demolished following a fire, so Hitchcock added a bell tower using scale models, matte paintings, and trick photography at the Paramount studio in Los Angeles. The tower does not resemble the original steeple. The tower's staircase was assembled inside a studio. The mission includes a cemetery, with the remains of over 4,000 Native American converts and Europeans buried there.[9]

Aerial view of Mission San Juan Bautista
A photograph of Mission San Juan Bautista taken between 1880 and 1910. The steeple (far right), constructed after the mission was secularized, was subsequently destroyed in a fire.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bennett 1897b, p. 153
  2. ^ a b c d Krell, p. 241
  3. ^ Ruscin, p. 121
  4. ^ Yenne, p. 132
  5. ^ Ruscin, p. 196
  6. ^ Forbes, p. 202
  7. ^ Ruscin, p. 195
  8. ^ a b c Krell, p. 315: as of December 31, 1832; information adapted from Engelhardt's Missions and Missionaries of California.
  9. ^ [1]


  • Bennett, John E. (February 1897b). "Should the California Missions Be Preserved? – Part II". Overland Monthly XXIX (170): 150–161. 
  • Forbes, Alexander (1839). California: A History of Upper and Lower California. Smith, Elder and Co., Cornhill, London. 
  • 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. 
  • Leffingwell, Randy (2005). California Missions and Presidios: The History & Beauty of the Spanish Missions. Voyageur Press, Inc., Stillwater, MN. ISBN 0-89658-492-5. 
  • Levy, Richard. (1978). William C. Sturtevant, and Robert F. Heizer, ed. Handbook of North American Indians. 8 (California). Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. p. 486. ISBN 0-16-004578-9. 
  • Milliken, Randall (1995). A Time of Little Choice: The Disintegration of Tribal Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area 1769–1910. Ballena Press Publication, Menlo Park, CA. ISBN 0-87919-132-5. 
  • 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. 
  • Yenne, Bill (2004). The Missions of California. Thunder Bay Press, San Diego, CA. ISBN 1-59223-319-8. 

External links[edit]

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