A Day At The San Luis Rey Mission

As in the histories of the other Missions established in California by the Spanish, Mission San Luis Rey’s story follows a familiar path of establishment, colonization of the native Indians, take over by people who took possession of much of the fertile land and livestock cultivated by the Indians, take over by the American Military for a time, return of the lands to the Catholic Church by President Abraham Lincoln, abandonment and finally, restoration. Father Antonio Peyri founded the Mission in 1798 and under his leadership, through the labor of the Luiseno Indian Tribe, the mission became the largest in the chain of California missions. Known as the “King of the Missions,” it included the largest building in California in 1830. During the time between 1847 and 1857, the Mission was used by US soldiers and some notable figures passed through its gates, one of which was Kit Carson. In 1865 the Mission was returned to the Catholic Church but it remained abandoned until 1892 when a group of Franciscans from Mexico were assigned to restore the Mission. During the years between 1892 and the 1960s, work continued to rebuild the former structures and during that process, ruins were discovered which were also restored and are part of the complex today.
Visitors to the Mission can take a self-guided tour that includes: the Mission Museum (recreating the lifestyle of the Luiseno Indians and other occupants); the original document that President Abraham Lincoln signed giving the Mission back to the Catholic Church; The Agapito Court and Secret Garden (a private courtyard used by the friars); Historic Mission Church (with Baroque and Classical Spanish Colonial architecture); Madonna Chapel (unique to San Luis Rey Mission) Lavenderia (elaborate “laundry” where Mission members bathed and washed their clothes); Historic Cemetery (oldest community burial ground in North County San Diego, dating back to 1798). These are only some of the points of interest you can see on your visit, and of course, there is a gift shop for you to purchase something to remember your trip back in time to early California.,
Old Mission San Luis Rey is located at 4050 Mission Avenue, in Oceanside, CA, website:www.sanluisrey.org. Like the other missions, it is a National Historic Landmark, is publicly funded and depends on donations for daily operations.