Then the rush began. As soon as the people in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara heard of it, they flocked to the new “gold fields” in hundreds. And the first California gold dust ever coined at the government mint at Philadelphia came from these mines. It was taken around Cape Horn in a sailing-vessel by Alfred Robinson, the translator of Boscana’s Indians of California, and consisted of 18.34 ounces, and made $344.75, or over $19 to the ounce.
Davis says that in the first two years after the discovery not less than from $80,000 to $100,000 was gathered. Don Antonio Coronel, with three Indian laborers, in 1842, took out $600 worth of dust in two months.
Water being scarce, the methods of washing the gravel were both crude and wasteful. And it is interesting to note that the first gold “pans” were bateas, or bowl-shaped Indian baskets.
The church at San Fernando is in a completely ruined condition. It stands southwest to northeast. The entrance is at the southwest end and the altar at the northeast. There is also a side entrance at the east, with a half-circular arch, sloping into a larger arch inside, with a flat top and rounded upper corners. The thickness of the walls allows the working out of various styles in these outer and inner arches that is curious and interesting. They reveal the individuality of the builder, and as they are all structural and pleasing, they afford a wonderful example of variety in adapting the arch to its necessary functions.
[Illustration: SHEEP AT MISSION SAN FERNANDO REY.]
[Illustration: RUINS OF OLD ADOBE WALL AND CHURCH, MISSION SAN FERNANDO REY.]
[Illustration: MONASTERY AND OLD FOUNTAIN AT MISSION SAN FERNANDO REY.]
[Illustration: INTERIOR OF RUINED CHURCH, MISSION SAN FERNANDO REY.]
The graveyard is on the northwest side of the church, and close by is the old olive orchard, where a number of fine trees are still growing. There are also two large palms, pictures of which are generally taken with the Mission in the background, and the mountains beyond. It is an exquisite subject. The remains of adobe walls still surround the orchard.
The doorway leading to the graveyard is of a half-circle inside, and slopes outward, where the arch is square.
There is a buttress of burnt brick to the southeast of the church, which appears as if it might have been an addition after the earthquake.
At the monastery the chief entrance is a simple but effective arched doorway, now plastered and whitewashed. The double door frame projects pilaster-like, with a four-membered cornice above, from which rises an elliptical arch, with an elliptical cornice about a foot above.
From this monastery one looks out upon a court or plaza which is literally dotted with ruins, though they are mainly of surrounding walls. Immediately in the foreground is a fountain, the reservoir of which is built of brick covered with cement. A double bowl rests on the center standard.