Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

We spent today in San Luis Obispo and the vicinity.  San Luis Obispo...aka SLO or San Luis as they call it around here, is about 12 miles north of Pismo Beach via Hwy. 101.  It was time for Annie to get her hair-do again.  We have used a Petco store in San Luis on previous visits, so we returned there.

While Annie was getting her day at the spa, we made the short journey to Mission Plaza in the downtown core of San Luis.  This is the location of the 5th California misson to be established for a total of 21.  I don't want to sound like your 4th grade teacher, so I'll make the history lesson as short as I can.

The mission was founded by Father Serra on September 1, 1772 and the town of San Luis Obispo grew up aroud the mission, which is still the "town center."  It is still an active parish, serving over 2,200 families in this area. The official name of this mission is Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, and was named after Saint Louis, Bishop of Toulouse, France.
We were able to go through the small mission museum to see artifacts from the early days. 
An original alter, now kept behind a glass wall for protection, was displayed.
Here is an olive press used in the 1700's by the Chumash Indians for the mission.  Also, a dining room was displayed to show us how the missionaries lived.
The Spanish controled this territory and they sent Don Gaspar de Portola on an expedition to rediscover the Monterey Bay area.  A mission was established in the Monterey/Carmel area but began doing poorly.  Their supplies and food were dwindling.  Don Gaspar de Portola remembered the area they'd passed through (SLO today) and he sent a hunting party down to kill some grizzly bears.  The grizzly bears were so plentiful that they had named the area La Canada de Los Osos (translated means:  Canyon of the Bears).  The Mission San Luis Obispo was established at this time.

After revolting against Spanish rule, Mexico won independence in 1822 and California came under Mexican control.  Mexico cared little about maintaining and supporting the Franciscans and their missions.  In 1845 Governor Pio Pico sold off all of the mission land in San Luis Obispo, except the church building.  It soon fell into ruin and was even used as a courthouse and jail for the county for many years.  

Finally, in 1872 interest began to grow again and improvements began, with the repurchase of mission land as well.   Repairs progressed slowly until 1933 when things really improved.  At that time the mission was restored to early mission style, as it appears today. 

This is the sanctuary used today for worship services.
Once outside in the garden, we can see the arbor running the length of one brick walkway.  No leaves right is winter, even in California.

Courtyard outside the side exit doors.

Across the plaza area in front of the mission is the San Luis Obispo Creek.  The creek winds itself through the main downtown area of the city. 
There is also a path to take the visitor on a nice tree-lined walk alongside the creek.

The 21 California Missions are interesting places to visit.  Fellow RV bloggers Rick and Paulette recently visited 2 other area missions, Mission Santa Ines and La Purisima Mission.  Check their blog for great info and photos.  Bruce and I have visited at least 14 of the missions over the years and we hope to see them all someday.  I highly recommend that you try to visit at least one of them during your vacation travels in California.

After our tour of the mission, it was time to collect our little Annie the Schnauzer.  Once we retrieved her, we all took off for a new area and a picnic.  I'll post on that another day.

Until next long for now!



Gypsy said...

VERY nice pictures!

Jerry and Suzy said...

We've visited many of the 21 missions, always found them fascinating. Not sure we've visited this one, though. We long ago developed the idea of doing a "pilgrimage" from one end of the mission chain to the other. Never have done it. Thanks for sharing this one with us!

Rick and Paulette said...

Thanks for posting those great pictures and the story of the Mission. I love visiting the Missions even though I've only seen 3 so far, I hope to add a lot more though.

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