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.
|Location||406 2nd Street
San Juan Bautista, California 95045
|Name as founded||La Misión del Glorios Precursor de Jesu Cristo, Nuestro Señor San Juan Bautista |
|English translation||The Mission of the Glorious Precursor of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Saint John the Baptist|
|Patron||Saint John the Baptist |
|Nickname(s)||"Mission of Music" |
|Founding date||June 24, 1797 |
|Founding priest(s)||Father Fermín Lasuén |
|Founding Order||Fifteenth |
|Military district||Third |
|Native place name(s)||Popeloutchom |
|Returned to the Church||1859 |
|Governing body||Roman Catholic Diocese of Monterey|
|Current use||Parish Church|
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 quickly. By 1803, there were 1,036 Native Americans living at the mission. Ranching and farming activity had moved apace, with 1,036 cattle, 4,600 sheep, 22 swine, 540 horses and 8 mules counted that year. At the same time, the harvest of wheat, barley and corn was estimated at 2,018 fanegas, each of about 220 pounds.
Father Pedro Estévan Tápis (who had a special talent for music) joined Father Felipe Arroyo de la Cuesta, at Mission San Juan Bautista in 1815 to teach singing to the Indians. He employed a system of notation developed in Spain that uses varied colors or textures for polyphonic music, usually (from bottom to top) solid black, solid red, black outline (sometimes solid yellow) and red outline (or black outline when yellow was used). His choir of Native American boys performed for many visitors, earning the San Juan Bautista Mission the nickname "the Mission of Music." Two of his handwritten choir books are preserved at the San Juan Bautista Museum. When Father Tapis died in 1825 he was buried on the mission grounds. The town of San Juan Bautista, which grew up around the mission, expanded rapidly during the California Gold Rush and continues to be a thriving community today.
The mission is situated adjacent to the San Andreas Fault, and has suffered damage from numerous earthquakes, such as those of 1800 and 1906. However, the mission was never entirely destroyed at once. It was restored initially in 1884, and then again in 1949 with funding from the Hearst Foundation. The three-bell campanario, or "bell wall," located by the church entrance built in 1975 by BM Taylor Co. under the directions of then California missions curator Sir Harry Downie and restored in 2010. An unpaved stretch of the original El Camino Real, just east of the mission, lies on a fault scarp.
Although initially secularized in 1835, the church was reconsecrated by the Roman Catholic Church in 1859, and continues to serve as a parish of the Diocese of Monterey. The mission includes a cemetery, with the remains of over 4,000 Native American converts and Europeans buried there.
The mission and its grounds were featured prominently 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.
- USNS Mission San Juan (AO-126) – a Buenaventura Class fleet oiler built during World War II.
- Rancho San Justo
- Teatro Campesino
- Bennett 1897b, p. 153
- Krell, p. 241
- Ruscin, p. 121
- Yenne, p. 132
- 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.
- Robert Iacopi, Earthquake Country (Menlo Park:Lane Publishing, 2004, 1971).
- 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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mission San Juan Bautista.|
- Mission San Juan Bautista – official site
- Early photographs, sketches, land surveys of Mission San Juan Bautista, via Calisphere, California Digital Library
- Vertigo at the Internet Movie Database
- Listing and photographs of church at the Historic American Buildings Survey
- Listing, drawings and photographs of mission at the Historic American Buildings Survey
- Another view of the Mission Facade, circa 1980s
- Howser, Huell (December 8, 2000). "California Missions (105)". California Missions. Chapman University Huell Howser Archive.
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Mission San Juan Bautista
- Mission San Juan Bautista Cemetery at Find a Grave