Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, California




When my husband and I drove into the town of San Luis Obispo, California, on our trip north along the Pacific Coast Highway from San Diego to San Francisco, we immediately headed over to the Mission San Luis Obsipo de TolosaWe had enjoyed seeing other historical Missions along the coast, and we wanted to also visit this Mission which is often called the "Prince of Missions."  The Mission is located in the middle of downtown San Luis Obispo, at the corner of Monterey and Chorro Streets.


As the fifth California Mission founded by Father Junipero Serra, on Sept. 1, 1772, it was named after Saint Louis, Bishop of Toulouse, France; a 14th century Franciscan. The Mission is located in a spacious valley along the central coast which the Spanish named "La CaƱada de los Osos" (Valley of the Bears) when they discovered many grizzly bears living there. 


The Mission church is unusual in its design. it has a combination of belfry and vestibule and a long secondary nave to the right of the altar which forms an L-shaped church plan. It is a design not found in any of the other California Missions.



The interior of the Mission was restored back to it's original state in 1934, and it is still used as an active parish church.



The San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Mission has a museum that features a rare collection of early California photographs, authentic Serra relics and specimens of Chumash Indian craftsmanship.



I found this collage of early 1900's photographs of all the 21 California Missions very interesting. Notice how many were in rural locations and now those same Missions have had cities grow up around them. 



The San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Mission grounds were beautiful.  Notice the red tile roofs and the long grape arbor. Under the three bells that were on display (upper left corner of the collage) was a commemorative plaque explaining that the Mission's original bells were lost to time, but these bells were two second and one third generation of bells, called "Joy," "Gloria" and "Sorrow." All of the Mission's bronze bells were usually made in Lima, Peru. Being a bell ringer at the Mission was an honor and it took up to two years to learn the bell ringing craft, as there were complicated bell patterns used to wake the mission inhabitants in the morning, call them to mass and announce the beginning of the siesta. The last two bell ringers at San Luis Obispo did this job for over 60 years each!


The photo on the left of Ah Louis (Wong On), 1840 -1936 - a prominent historical figure who helped to build the town of San Luis Obispo, was in the Mission's museum.  His store is now a historical landmark. The bell located next to the store was donated by Howard Wong Louis, his son, in memory of his father.  Ah Louis was a Chinese American pioneer who founded his store in 1874 to serve as a grocery and merchandise store, employment office, bank post office and pharmacy.  The store was used by the Chinese laborers that were living in the area and working to dig the eight tunnels through the mountains of Cuesta for the Southern Pacific Railroad, from 1884 to 1894.




Our next stop was the third largest wine growing region of California, beautiful Paso Robles, where I was surprised again to be greeted by a statue that I have been fortunate enough to see in Florence, Italy, in Sonoma, California and in Sydney, Australia. Can you guess what it is? If not, I'll be showing it in an upcoming post. It definitely seems to be an unusual "good luck" charm for me!


I'm linking this post to the "Outdoor Wednesday" event on Susan's blog A Southern Daydreamer. Thank you, Susan!


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26 comments:

Linda said...

I love San Louis Obispo...I have only been there a couple times, but it is so pretty in that area. Great post!! Wonderful pictures and info as usual...you are so good with all that!

Sue said...

I haven't been to this mission, Pat, but have visited the ones in Santa Barbara and Monterey. We attended mass in Santa Barbara and it was just beautiful. Their history is just so amazing and it documents so much of what they endured to bring religion to the area. I'm sure you enjoyed your trip immensely!
~ Sue

Barbara F. said...

Really beautiful church and mission. Great photos and narrative, but then, it is you! xo

Carol said...

Beautiful, Pat, thanks for the tour, and the history, I learn plenty when I come to visit. Enjoyed this post very much!

EliFla said...

Driving long the Californian Coast is one of my dream. I'm sure one day this dream will come true!!! Hugs, Flavia

Yvette said...

I've never been there, but reading your post makes me feel almost as if I have. :)

Old Kitty said...

Oh Pat! It's the piggy statue! LOL!! Yay! He gets around doesn't he!?

Oh wow - I love how these missionary buildings and land are so lovingly maintained. I really like this church - it's most unusual shape and setting - but best is the very colourful and pretty design along the walls! Isn't that just pretty!

Thanks to for the info on the amazing Mr On Wong! What a guy! There should be a film about him!

Take care
x

Vee said...

Interesting that you're running into the same statue the same image used for the statue...I'm sure that there is a correct way to say this...over and over again. I do want to see what it is. It can't be The Thinker! Ha!

Beautiful mission with intriguing history. They've done a wonderful job of taking care of their church if nothing major has been done since 1934!

Thanks for tucking us into your pocket and taking us along for the tour.

Privet and Holly said...

I've visited lovely
SLO and you've done
it perfect justice, here,
Pat! Thank you for
visiting and leaving a
comment for Monday
Moments. So much
fun for me to explore
your blog, having just
returned from NYC.
Looking forward to more
visits to your blog!

xx Suzanne

Riet said...

I am still traveling with you Pat. I love those missions and to me they are all beautiful.
Have a nie week.

ARLENE said...

My visit to San Louis Obispo was the highlight of my trip to California. Loved your photos.

Ginny said...

This mission is beautiful! I especially like the photo of the long,thin,sanctuary.

nanny said...

You are so good at giving us the facts and the beautiful pictures to accompany them...

I just added a gadget on header and it came out that size...I had nothing to do with it/ha. I was thinking it was a bit too large...

Pamela Gordon said...

Beautiful photos and story about this wonderful mission. Thanks for sharing this history. Pamela

Farmchick said...

I haven't been to San Louis Obispo, but would love to go. The church is really a beautiful place.

Sarah said...

Pat, we visited this mission years ago. It's fun to see your photos. ~ Sarah

Betsy from Tennessee said...

What an interesting church/mission, Pat. The design is truly unique.. I don't think I have ever seen a church like that...

Enjoyed seeing the museum and especially the collage of all of the missions in CA in the early 1900's.

Thanks for sharing.
Hugs,
Betsy

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

They were "outreaches" early on, now in the midst of cities and populated areas. Very interesting to see those old photos. Oh, they are all so very beautiful.

David??? Now, I need to know! LOL! blessings ~ tanna

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Pat-You should get " frequent mission" points for all the places you've visited. I think I might know what statue you're talking about. Oink, oink anyone?

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

A good reminder of our tour of the mission two years ago. We found it most interesting and also enjoyed the beautiful gardens! And I remeber having yummy ice-cream at an old-fashioned shoppe called Foster's Freeze (not far from the mission). Fun memories!

Pondside said...

What lovely memories you bring up for me, Pat. We attended mass on Palm Sunday there a few years ago - such a beautiful church and so much history. All my cousins from SLO were baptised and married in the mission church.

Ola said...

Pat, you keep on visiting interesing places!
I have never seen a wineyard

Willow said...

Having visited all the missions myself, I'm enjoying the views from your camera lens. A couple of the mission are still in rural areas--La Purisima Mission and San Antonio and of course poor Soledad Mission which is simply a pile of stones now. I'm glad San Luis Obispo Mission has been so well preserved.

Theanne and Baron said...

Pat, your tour of the missions has been so interesting and exciting...San Louis Obispo is truly magnificent...it's architecture, it's art and the grounds! Brought back memories of Don and I visiting (several times) the White Dove of the Desert, Mission San Xavier del Bac outside of Tucson, AZ, governed by the Tohono O'Odham Reservation.

http://www.sanxaviermission.org/

Lisa RedWillow said...

Really Beautiful. I could spend hours and hours in there for walking and then taking photos. Wonderful place and blog

Claudia said...

A bell ringer for 60 years! There is a beauty in that simplicity! I love how towns sprung around the missions. I will have to pay more attention to these towns on my next trip to CA (I am due).