Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad

Coordinates: 36°24′16.6278″N 121°21′20.9046″W / 36.404618833°N 121.355806833°W / 36.404618833; -121.355806833
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Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad
Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad
Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad
Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad is located in California
Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad
Location in California
Location36641 Fort Romie Road
Soledad, California 93960
Coordinates36°24′16.6278″N 121°21′20.9046″W / 36.404618833°N 121.355806833°W / 36.404618833; -121.355806833
Name as foundedLa Misión de María Santísima, Nuestra Señora Dolorosísima de la Soledad [1]
English translationThe Mission of Mary Most Holy, Our Most Sorrowful Lady of Solitude
PatronOur Lady of Solitude, Our Most Sorrowful Lady of Solitude [2]
Nickname(s)"The Holy Mission" [3]
Founding dateOctober 9, 1791 [4]
Founding priest(s)Fermín Francisco de Lasuén
Founding OrderThirteenth [2]
Military districtThird [5]
Native tribe(s)
Spanish name(s)
Chalon, Esselen, Yokuts,
Native place name(s)Chuttusqelis [6]
Baptisms2,131 (by 1832)[7]
Marriages648 (by 1832) [7]
Burials1,705 (by 1832) [7]
Secularized1835 [2]
Returned to the Church1859 [2]
Governing bodyRoman Catholic Diocese of Monterey
Current useChapel / Museum
Reference no.
  1. 233

Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (Spanish: Misión Nuestra Señora de la Soledad),[8] commonly known as Mission Soledad,[9] is a Spanish mission located in Soledad, California. The mission was founded by the Franciscan order on October 9, 1791, to convert the Native Americans living in the area to Catholicism. It was the thirteenth of California's Spanish missions, and is named for Mary, Our Lady of Solitude. The town of Soledad is named for the mission.

After the 1835 secularization of the mission and the later sale of building materials, the mission fell into a state of disrepair and soon after was left in ruins. A restoration project began in 1954 and a new chapel was dedicated in 1955. The chapel now functions as a chapel of Our Lady of Solitude, a parish church of the Diocese of Monterey. The priests' residence was later recreated, and functions as a museum.


Mission era[edit]

The ruins of Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad circa 1900.

Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, La Misión de María Santísima, Nuestra Señora Dolorosísima de la Soledad, was founded October 9, 1791 by Fermín Francisco de Lasuén, the 13th of 21 missions in California.

The Chalon, a subgroup of the Ohlone were converted and resided there, followed by Esselen and Yokuts people. By 1803, there were 627 Mission Indians at Mission Soledad. At the Mission many Chalon married local Esselen speakers, while others married Yokuts were brought into the mission between 1806 and 1834.

The mission's herds numbered 1,150 cattle, about 5,000 sheep, 30 swine, 670 horses, and 40 mules. Spanish Governor José Joaquín de Arrillaga was buried in the chapel after he died on July 24, 1814, during a visit to the Mission.

The mission was inundated by floods in 1824, 1828, and 1832, and following secularization (when Pio Pico sold the mission for a reported $800), the remaining buildings were looted for supplies. The mission's land became Rancho Ex-Mission Soledad.

Restoration and reconstruction[edit]

In 1954, when the Mission Soledad restoration was begun, only piles of adobe dirt and a few wall sections from the cuadrángulo (quadrangle) remained. The chapel was reconstructed and dedicated under the auspices of the Native Daughters of the Golden West on October 9, 1955. The ruins of the quadrangle, cemetery, and some of the outer rooms, while not restored, can still be seen. Governor Arrillaga's grave was identified and given a new marker.

The Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad is now a functioning Catholic chapel and public museum.

Mission Soledad altar and interior, 2015

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Leffingwell, p. 109
  2. ^ a b c d Krell, p. 224
  3. ^ Ruscin, p. 111
  4. ^ Yenne, p. 120
  5. ^ Forbes, p. 202
  6. ^ Ruscin, p. 195
  7. ^ a b c Krell, p. 315: as of December 31, 1832; information adapted from Engelhardt's Missions and Missionaries of California.
  8. ^ City of Soledad, California. "Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad".
  9. ^ Misión de María Santísima Nuestra Señora de la Soledad. "Mission Soledad".


  • 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 978-0-7591-0872-1. {{cite book}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  • 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. Vol. 8 (California). Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. p. 486. ISBN 0-16-004578-9.
  • Milliken, Randall (1987). Ethnohistory of the Rumsen; Papers in Northern California Anthropology No. 2. Coyote Press, Salina, CA.
  • 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.
  • Tapis, Estevan, OFM, State of the Missions of New California ... December 1803.

External links[edit]