Page 93 - SLO Visitors Guide Summer 2024
P. 93				 SUMMER 2024 93
Paso Robles
Discover over 200 years of history
at Mission San Miguel Arcàngel
Located 10 miles north of Paso
Robles, Mission San Miguel Ar-
càngel, founded in 1797, is the 16th
of the 21 missions established in
the Alta California mission system.
Along with traditional mission-era
architecture, the appearance today
is much the same as when it was
built. Now a State and National
Historical Landmark, the mission
controlled approximately 3600
square miles of land until the Mexi-
can government took over. The
padres raised livestock, vineyards,
wheat, beans, lentils, vegetables,
and melons.
In 1806, a fire destroyed the
original church. Construction on a
new church was completed in 1821
when the interior frescos designed
by Estaban Munràs were painted
by Salinans under his supervision.
At the time of rebuilding, 1000
Salinans were reported to be living
and working at the mission. Este-
ban Munràs, a
artist, settled
in Monterey,
where he built
Casa Mun-
ràs, the first
home to be
outside the
walls of the
A variety
of artifacts
are on display
and can be viewed while touring
the mission and the grounds. The
elaborate frescos that were com-
pleted in the church after the 1821
restoration are the only original,
untouched mission frescos left in
Take a tour of
California history
When Mexico won indepen-
dence from Spain in 1821, the
missions were secularized in 1833.
Mexico broke up the land formerly
held by the
missions into
large land
grants called
and gave
them away.
Mission San
Miguel was
one of the
last to be sec-
ularized in
1836. When
Mexico sur-
rendered to
the United
States, settlers arriving in Califor-
nia began either buying or finding
other ways to take possession of
the land.
Secularization also liberated the
indigenous people from control
of the missions. A small minority
of the indigenous received land
grants, leaving the majority to on
their own. Some, having learned
horsemanship, farming, and other
skills at the missions worked on the
Petronillo Rios and William
Reed took possession of the mis-
sion in 1846, where the Reed family
lived until the entire family and
their household staff were mur-
dered in 1848. After the murders,
the mission was occupied by com-
mercial enterprises.
The missions as a whole were
returned to the Catholic Church by
the United States in 1865, but the
San Miguel mission was returned
earlier, in 1859, by President James
Buchanan. No priests were sent
to the mission until 1878. In 1928
Mission San Miguel was returned
to the Franciscan order. After being
closed to the public due to the 2003
San Simeon earthquake, the church
reopened in 2009 after extensive
Visit the mission
The mission is located at 775
Mission St., San Miguel. Mass is held
daily. The gift shop is open Thurs-
day-Monday from 10 a.m.-4:00
p.m. Closed on major holidays. Tour
tickets, available from the gift shop
are $10/adult, $8/senior, $5/child 6
to 17 years, $20/special family rate
for up to five people, and $5 for each
additional person. For schedules,
events, or more information, visit, or call
(805) 467-3256.
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