Resting in the Mission Garden

Martha Sherman

Santa Clara, United States

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Artist's Description

Bench, bell and cactus in the old mission garden. I can’t find any information specifically on the bell, though I don’t think it’s original, just old.

Old Mission San Juan Bautista, in San Juan Bautista, California, was the fifteenth Spanish mission established in Alta California by Spanish priests. Construction began in 1797 and continued for many years as the mission also gradually acquired a granary, barracks for the soldiers, a monastery, a nunnery, and some adobe houses, built around a large, grassy square. This is the only original Spanish Plaza remaining in California. A number of Native Americans were converted to Christianity and lived at the mission, providing the labor necessary for farming and ranching.

Construction of the church began in 1803 and was dedicated in 1812, though it wasn’t finished for a number of years. In 1835 the Mexican government seized most of the Mission property and the church was secularized. In 1859, the United States government returned the present buildings and 55 acres to the church. The church has remained active to the present, and is currently under the Roman Catholic Diocese of Monterey.

The mission was built next to the San Andreas Fault, resulting in earthquake damage through the years; however, it was never all destroyed at once. In addition to ongoing repairs and strengthening of walls for earthquake safety, restorations were undertaken a number of times, and continue to this day on the oldest sections.

Alfred Hitchcock used the mission grounds and the bell tower for some of its scenes in his movie Vertigo.

Artwork Comments

  • myraj
  • Martha Sherman
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  • Charmiene Maxwell-Batten
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