Founded in 1771 as the second Mission in California, the current San Gabriel Archangel church was dedicated in 1805.
In traditional Spanish style, walled courtyard after walled courtyard make up the garden surrounding the San Gabriel Mission, its dormitories and outbuildings. Originally the courtyards were, no doubt, left bare: they were spaces for people to work.
Today one of the larger courtyards is planted with cactus and succulents that need little or no watering.
The Franciscan friars planted thousands of trees and grape vines around the Mission. A few of the old olive trees remain along with other fruit trees.
The orange trees they planted came from cuttings donated to the Franciscans by King Carlos III of Spain and brought from Spain.
A sign on one massive old grape vine indicated it was planted in 1771. I find that hard to believe. Olive trees last for centuries, but to my knowledge grape vines do not. The vine, however, is clearly very old.
The Franciscans who operated the Missions were known for their hospitality to Mexicans, Americans, and Europeans travelling in California.
This is the view travelers would have had approaching the Mission–without the palms and jacaranda tree. The Franciscan friars were far less hospitable to native Tongva people who had lived in the San Gabriel Valley for centuries before they did.
See more of the buildings and historic artifacts at the San Gabriel Mission.
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