The Old Franciscan Missions Of California eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 227 pages of information about The Old Franciscan Missions Of California.
“The first struggle will be not to arouse sympathy but to inform with slow patience and long wisdom the wide-spread sympathy which already exists.  We cannot take the Indians out of the hands of the National Government; we cannot take the National Government into our own hands.  Therefore we must work with the National Government in any large plan for the betterment of Indian conditions.
“The League means, in absolute good faith, not to fight, but to assist the Indian Bureau.  It means to give the money of many and the time and brains and experience of more than a few to honest assistance to the Bureau in doing the work for which it has never had either enough money or enough disinterested and expert assistance to do in the best way the thing it and every American would like to see done.”



The question is often asked:  Is there a Mission architecture?  It is not my intention here to discuss this question in extenso, but merely to answer it by asking another and then making an affirmation.  What is it that constitutes a style in architecture?  It cannot be that every separate style must show different and distinct features from every other style.  It is not enough that in each style there are specific features that, when combined, form an appropriate and harmonious relationship that distinguishes it from every other combination.

As a rule, the Missions were built in the form of a hollow square:  the church representing the fachada, with the priests’ quarters and the houses for the Indians forming the wings.  These quarters were generally colonnaded or cloistered, with a series of semicircular arches, and roofed with red tiles.  In the interior was the patio or court, which often contained a fountain and a garden.  Upon this patio opened all the apartments:  those of the fathers and of the majordomo, and the guest-rooms, as well as the workshops, schoolrooms and storehouses.

One of the strongest features of this style, and one that has had a wide influence upon our modern architecture, is the stepped and curved sides of the pediment.

This is found at San Luis Rey, San Gabriel, San Antonio de Padua, Santa Ines, and at other places.  At San Luis Rey, it is the dominant feature of the extension wall to the right of the fachada of the main building.

On this San Luis pediment occurs a lantern which architects regard as misplaced.  Yet the fathers’ motive for its presence is clear:  that is, the uplifting of the Sign whereby the Indians could alone find salvation.

Another means of uplifting the cross was found in the domes—­practically all of which were terraced—­on the summits of which the lantern and cross were placed.

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The Old Franciscan Missions Of California from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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