Carmel Mission, Carmel CA

Discussion created by anadyr on Mar 9, 2012
Latest reply on Mar 11, 2012 by anadyr

The historic Mission in Carmel CA is worth a visit.


old mission.jpgNamed San Carlos Borromeo  this might be the most beautiful of all California missions. It is here that Fr. Serra, the man who landed in Monterey in 1770 to claim the territory for Spain, made his headquarters for his California missionary work, and where he was buried upon his death in 1784. A year after its founding, the mission was moved from Monterey to a beautiful site in Carmel Valley near the Pacific Ocean.  The first Monterey site was inadequate for growing crops, and a distance from where the Native Americans resided.


Fr. Serra was buried in the sanctuary beside the altar in the adobe church. A few years later the current large stone church was built around the small adobe church.


When secularization occurred in 1834 all of the mission lands, except the church site, were sold to private parties. The great stone mission church was abandoned and for 30 years stood roofless after its collapse in 1851.Earthquakes also took their toll and the church fell into total ruin,  Enough money was eventually raised in 1884 to build a new roof, but the steep pitch was out of place with the original design. The latest restoration, begun in the 1930's, has restored a more suitable roof, and is the most authentic restoration in the entire mission chain.  Each Mission was a day's ride from another, according to Serra's plan.


new mission.jpgWhile strolling the streets of Venice FL last week I ran into a fellow who was sporting a Carmel tee shirt. Seems he knew and worked with Harry Downey, a gentleman who made it his life's work to rehabilitate these historic structures. We spoke about the history of the place and it's continuing use as both a school and a church.  During the Christmas season and the Bach Festival each summer there are concerts held in the sanctuary.  Blankets help on cold evenings there but the acoustics are wonderful for an adobe structure.


There is a small admission charge to visit the church other than during Mass but it goes toward the ongoing restoration projects.  In my view, the Carmel Mission is worth a visit and taking time to see an historical place in a resort town, tucked away and almost as it was nearly three hundred years ago.