In 1901 the outside of the church and monastery was restored with a coat of new plaster and cement. Inside nearly everything is as it was left by the robber hand of secularization.
On the walls are the ten oil paintings brought by the original founders. They are very indistinct in the dim light of the church, and little can be said of their artistic value without further examination.
There is also an old breviary with two heavy, hand-made clasps, dated Antwerp, 1735, and containing the autograph of Fr. Man. de Castaneda.
There is a quadrangle at San Miguel 230 feet square, and on one side of it a corridor corresponding to the one in front, for six pillars of burnt brick still remain.
At the rear of the church was the original church, used before the present one was built, and a number of remains of the old houses of the neophytes still stand, though in a very dilapidated condition.
San Miguel was always noted for its proximity to the Hot Springs and Sulphur Mud Baths of Paso Robles. Both Indians and Mission padres knew of their healthful and curative properties, and in the early days scores of thousands enjoyed their peculiar virtues. Little by little the “superior race” is learning that in natural therapeutics the Indian is a reasonably safe guide to follow; hence the present extensive use by the whites of the Mud and Sulphur Baths at Paso Robles. Methinks the Indians of a century ago, though doubtless astonished at the wonderful temple to the white man’s God built at San Miguel, would wonder much more were they now to see the elaborate and splendid house recently erected at Paso Robles for the purpose of giving to more white people the baths, the virtue of which they so well knew.
[Illustration: SEEKING TO PREVENT THE PHOTOGRAPHER FROM MAKING A PICTURE OF MISSION SAN MIGUEL ARCANGEL.]
[Illustration: OLD PULPIT AT MISSION SAN MIGUEL ARCANGEL.]
[Illustration: RESTORED MONASTERY AND MISSION CHURCH OF SAN FERNANDO REY.]
[Illustration: CORRIDORS AT SAN FERNANDO REY.]
SAN FERNANDO, REY DE ESPAGNA
On September 8, 1797, the seventeenth of the California Missions was founded by Padre Lasuen, in the Encino Valley, where Francisco Reyes had a rancho in the Los Angeles jurisdiction. The natives called it Achois Comihavit. Reyes’ house was appropriated as a temporary dwelling for the missionary. The Mission was dedicated to Fernando III, King of Spain. Lasuen came down from San Miguel to Santa Barbara, especially for the foundation, and from thence with Sergeant Olivera and a military escort. These, with Padre Francisco Dumetz, the priest chosen to have charge, and his assistant, Francisco Favier Uria, composed, with the large concourse of Indians, the witnesses of the solemn ceremonial.
On the fourth of October Olivera reported the guard-house and storehouse finished, two houses begun, and preparations already being made for the church.