MISSION SAN GABRIEL ARCHANGEL – Mission Church
On a recent photo shoot of the Mission San Gabriel Archangel, I was able to capture some rather significant images of the original Mission Church. Construction began on the Old Mission Church in 1791 and was finally completed in 1805.
You may recall my earlier visit to Mission San Juan Capistrano, where I was unable to capture authentic images of the mission church due to problematic lighting conditions. Desiring to utilize the natural light, the church at Mission San Juan Capistrano was much too dark. Out of respect for others who may be experiencing the beauty of these great structures, I declined the use of any flash apparatus.
However, the architectural design of the elongated windows in the Mission San Gabriel Archangel Mission Church allowed for exceptional lighting at this particular time of the day, as you can readily see by this image.
Mission San Gabriel Arcángel has been historically referred to as the “Godmother of the Pueblo of Los Angeles.” Designed by Father Antonio Cruzado of Córdoba, Spain. Father Cruzado is responsible for lending the Mission structure its Moorish architectural influence as evidenced by the capped buttresses and the tall, narrow windows along its nave. In its size and grandeur, Mission San Gabriel makes a statement among the Missions of California.
The Mission church was built from 1791 to 1805 of cut stone, brick, and mortar and is the oldest structure of its kind south of Monterey, CA. From 1987 to 1993, the structure was fully restored to repair damage from the 1987 Whittier earthquake. The retrofitting project netted the Mission the Los Angeles Conservancy Preservation Award in 1994.
The fourth of the 21 California missions founded, the Mission is rich in the history and traditions of early California. In the early mission era, it became known as the “Pride of the Missions” for its large production of crops and trading of cattle hides and wine. Some of this history has been preserved for viewing in the church, museum, and grounds.
San Gabriel Mission has been designated as California Historical Landmark #158.