San Diego de Alcala Mission

San Diego de Alcala was the first mission established by the Spanish in July of 1769. Father Junipero Serra built the mission on the Presidio Hill overlooking the Bay next to the Spanish fort. Initially the natives feared the Spanish, particularly the soldiers. In 1774, Father Serra moved the mission six miles up river away from the fort. In 1775 the native indians attacked the mission, setting fire to it and killing three men including Father Luis Jayme. The Spanish soldiers broke up the attack. The missionaries had to move back to Presidio Hill, but the indians now realized they needed to live peacefully with their Spanish neighbors.

The missionaries began to attract and convert natives to Christianity. By 1790 the church was restored with the help of the natives. Unfortunately, an earthquake in 1803 destroyed the church. The new church was completed in 1813. The mission continued to grow and prosper until the 1830's.

After secularization the mission buildings were stripped of their tiles for neighboring settlements, and then quickly deteriorated. The U.S. Army occupied the church, using it as barracks from 1846 to 1860. The church decayed for many years until the late 1920's when it was restored.

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  State Highway 8 at Mission Valley.


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