Francisco de Asis mission
Library of Congress)
When the Spanish
discovered San Francisco Bay, they recognized its
military importance. This military need drove the
establishment of the San Francisco de Asis Mission. The
Spanish built a large presidio to provide military
strength. In their usual fashion, they also built a
pueblo and a mission. The presidio and mission were
dedicated on October 9, 1776. The Spanish also brought in
many families from Mexico to settle the area.
mission was built along a stream that was named Arroyo de
los Dolores. The mission was often called Mission
Dolores. The first mud-plastered, log church built by the
Spanish sailors was quickly outgrown. It was replaced by
a larger adobe church in 1791. The remainder of the
quadrangle, including storerooms and workshops, was
completed in 1798. This drawing shows the San
Francisco de Asis mission during its operation.
Unfortunately, the mission suffered lots of illness,
including measles epidemics, which left many dead.
After secularization, the mission was used by
prospectors and others during the Gold Rush. In 1857, the
mission was returned to the Catholic Church and restored.