San Bernardino de Sena Estancia
The estancia's "bell wall" was designed after the campanario at
Mission San Antonio de Pala.
|Name as founded||Estancia de la Misión San Gabriel, Arcángel |
|English translation||Station of Mission San Gabriel Arcángel|
|Patron||Saint Bernardinus of Masa Marrittima, near Siena, Italy|
|Nickname(s)||"The Place of Plenty to Eat and Drink" |
|Governing body||County of San Bernardino|
|California Historical Landmark|
The San Bernardino de Sena Estancia (also known as the San Bernardino Rancho) was established in 1819 as a ranch outpost of Mission San Gabriel Arcángel in Redlands, California. It was built to graze cattle, and for Indian Reductions of the Serrano people and Cahuilla people into Mission Indians.
The second estancia was established and built around 1830 at Politana rancheria, approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) from the original 1819 site that was destroyed in a revolt. The Politana site of the San Bernardino de Sena Estancia is a California Historical Landmark.
The California missions' lands were secularized in 1833. In 1841 Governor Juan B. Alvarado of Alta California issued a Mexican land grant for Rancho San Bernardino to José del Carmen Lugo, José Maria Lugo, Vincente Lugo, and their cousin Jose Diego Sepulveda. Included were all of the original asistencia buildings: the chapel, a tile kiln, a lime kiln, and a grist mill.
In 1851 the property was subsequently sold to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and occupied by Bishop Nathan C. Tenney from 1851 through 1859, when Dr. Benjamin Barton purchased it from the Mormons. Dr. Barton practiced medicine and resided on the property until 1867.
Over time, materials were removed from the abandoned adobe structure, which fell into a state of ruin.
In 1925, the County of San Bernardino acquired the property from the Barton family. All remaining historic materials were salvaged, and construction of a new, six-room structure commenced in 1926 with later funding from the Works Progress Administration relief project (assisted by the San Bernardino County Historical Society).
Since funds weren't available to restore mere ranchos, a great deal of artistic license was taken in the design of the new, six-room structure (including exhibit space and a residence for the site manager), which replaced what was left of the original chapel building. Additionally, a freestanding campanario ("bell wall") was constructed (similar to that at Mission San Antonio de Pala) even though none had existed previously. The restoration was completed in 1937, and the rebuilt structures were unveiled to the general public as "The Asistencia."
The reconstructed asistencia and rancho buildings are open for tours Tuesday through Saturday. Group tours are available by appointment, and the chapel and courtyard are available as a site for weddings.
- Ruscin, p. 51