The Book of Confirmations at San Luis has its introductory pages written by Serra. There is also a “Nota” opposite page three, and a full-page note in the back in his clear, vigorous and distinctive hand.
There are three bells at San Luis Obispo. The largest is to the right, the smallest in the center. On the largest bell is the following inscription: “Me fecit ano di 1818 Manvel Vargas, Lima. Mision de Sn Luis Obispo De La Nueba California.” This latter is a circumferential panel about midway between the top and bottom of the bell. On the middle bell we read the same inscription, while there is none on the third. This latter was cast in San Francisco, from two old bells which were broken.
From a painting the old San Luis Obispo church is seen to have been raised up on a stone and cement foundation. The corridor was without the arches that are elsewhere one of the distinctive features, but plain round columns, with a square base and topped with a plain square moulding, gave support to the roof beams, on which the usual red-tiled roof was placed.
The fachada of the church retreats some fifteen or twenty feet from the front line of the corridors. The monastery has been “restored,” even as has the church, out of all resemblance to its own honest original self. The adobe walls are covered with painted wood, and the tiles have given way to shingles, just like any other modern and commonplace house. The building faces the southeast. The altar end is at the northwest. To the southwest are the remains of a building of boulders, brick, and cement, exactly of the same style as the asistencia building of Santa Margarita. It seems as if it might have been built by the same hands. Possibly in the earlier days Santa Margarita was a vista of San Luis, rather than of San Miguel, though it is generally believed that it was under the jurisdiction of the latter.
SAN FRANCISCO DE ASIS
The story of Bucareli’s determination to found a presidio at San Francisco, and Anza’s march with the colonists for it from Sonora, has already been recounted. When Serra and Galvez were making their original plans for the establishment of the three first Missions of Alta California, Serra expressed his disappointment that St. Francis was neglected by asking: “And for our founder St. Francis there is no Mission?” To which Galvez replied: “If St. Francis desires a Mission, let him show us his harbor and he shall have one.” It therefore seemed providential that when Portola, Pages, and Crespi, in 1769, saw the Bay of Monterey they did not recognize it, and were thus led on further north, where the great Bay of San Francisco was soon afterwards discovered and reasonably well surveyed.