Mission San Miguel Arcángel
San Miguel's various-sized arches are a noted feature of this mission
|Location||775 Mission Street
San Miguel, San Luis Obispo County, California 93451
|Name as founded||La Misión del Gloriosísimo Príncipe Arcángel, Señor San Miguel |
|English translation||The Mission of the Very Glorious Archangel Prince, Sir Saint Michael|
|Patron||Saint Michael the Archangel|
|Nickname(s)||"Mission on the Highway" ... 
"The Unretouched Mission" 
|Founding date||July 25, 1797 |
|Founding priest(s)||Father Fermín Lasuén |
|Area||0.4 acres (0.16 ha)|
|Architectural style(s)||Queen Anne|
|Native place name(s)||Valica |
|Returned to the Church||1859|
|Governing body||Roman Catholic Diocese of Monterey|
|Current use||Parish Church|
|U.S. National Register of Historic Places|
|NRHP designation date||July 14, 1971|
|U.S. National Historic Landmark|
|NHL designation date||March 20, 2006|
|California Historical Landmark|
Mission San Miguel Arcángel is a Spanish mission in San Miguel, San Luis Obispo County, California. It was established on July 25, 1797 by the Franciscan order, on a site chosen specifically due to the large number of Salinan Indians that inhabited the area, whom the Spanish priests wanted to evangelize.
The mission remains in use as a parish church of the Diocese of Monterey. After being closed to the public for six years due to the 2003 San Simeon Earthquake, the church reopened on September 29, 2009. Inside the church are murals designed by Esteban Munras.
Father Fermín Lasuén founded the mission on July 25, 1797, making it the sixteenth California mission. Its location between Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and Mission San Antonio de Padua provided a stop on the trip that had previously taken two days. In 1803, the mission reported an Indian population of 908, while its lands grazed 809 cattle, 3,223 sheep, 342 horses and 29 mules. That year's harvest included about 2,186 fanegas of wheat and corn (A fanega was about 220 pounds). Most of the mission burned, while still being developed, in 1806. It was rebuilt within a year.
In 1846, Governor Pío Pico sold the Mission for $600 to Petronillo Rios and William Reed. Reed used the Mission as a family residence and a store. In 1848, Reed and his family were murdered, leaving the Mission vacant for a period of time. The Mission was a stopping place for miners coming from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and was consequently was used as a saloon, dance hall, storeroom and living quarters.
In 1878, after 38 years without a resident padre, Father Philip Farrelly became the "First Pastor" of Mission San Miguel Arcángel. Through all the years the priests kept the church in condition and it is called the best-preserved church in the mission chain today. In 1928, Mission San Miguel Arcángel and Mission San Antonio de Padua were returned to the Franciscan order. Since then, the Mission has been repaired and restored, and has one of the best-preserved interiors, giving one of the best examples of old mission life.
For many years, the Mission served the town as an active parish church of the Diocese of Monterey. Harmonic vibrations from the nearby Union Pacific Railroad main line weakened the unreinforced masonry structures over the years. The San Simeon Earthquake of December 22, 2003 caused severe damage to the sanctuary at Mission San Miguel. The Catholic Church considered closing the parish due to the extensive damage and the estimated $15 million cost of repairs. Work has since been completed and the Mission reopened on September 29, 2009.
- The Mission Arcade, a series of 12 arches, is original. The variety of shapes and sizes was planned and the Mission was known for this arcade.
- The first chapel on the site was replaced within a year of its construction by a larger adobe chapel, which burned in the 1806 fire.
- The current mission church was built between 1816 and 1818. It is 144 long, 27 feet (8.2 m) wide, and 40 feet (12 m) high.
- The cemetery adjacent to the church holds the remains of 2,249 Native Americans listed in the Mission's burial records.
- The painted walls inside the church are the original artwork by artist Esteban Munras and other Salinan artists.
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 bells.
- Leffingwell, p. 91
- Krell, p. 254
- Ruscin, p. 129
- Yenne, p. 140
- 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.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- "Mission San Miguel Arcangel". National Historic Landmark Quicklinks. National Park Service. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
- Grimes, Theresa (May 19, 2005). "Mission San Miguel Arcángel" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places – Inventory Nomination Form. National Park Service. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- Mission San Miguel Arcangel park brochure. undated.
- "Weird California: Mission San Miguel". Retrieved 2008-04-07.
- Coronado and Ignatin
- Nolte, Carl (October 1, 2009). "Quake-battered Mission San Miguel restored". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 1 October 2009
- USNS Mission San Miguel (AO-129) – a Buenaventura Class fleet oiler built during World War II.
- Ygnacio Coronel (1795–1862). In 1836, Coronel was appointed commissioner of the securalized Mission.
- Coronado, Michael; Heather Ignatin (June 5, 2006). "Plan would open Prop. 40 funds to missions". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 2008-03-08.
- Engelhardt, Zephyrin, O.F.M. (1931). San Miguel Arcángel: The Mission on the Highway. Mission Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA.
- 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.
- 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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mission San Miguel Arcángel.|
- Official web site – Includes an online tour of the mission interior and some exterior
- Elevation & Site Layout sketches of the Mission proper
- Virtual Reality Panorama "Mission San Miguel"
- Early photographs, sketches, land surveys of Mission San Miguel Arcángel, via Calisphere, California Digital Library
- Early History of the California Coast, a National Park Service Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary
- Library of Congress, Americas Memory
- Howser, Huell (December 8, 2000). "California Missions (104)". California Missions. Chapman University Huell Howser Archive.