The Art of Historic Preservation

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Mission Santa Clara de Asis

The Digital Documentation of the Historic El Camino Real

El Camino Real (Spanish for the Royal Road also known as the Kings Highway) refers to the 600 mile (966 km) California Mission Trail, connecting the former Alta California's 21 Missions and a number of submissions, 4 Presidios, 3 Pueblos stretching from Mission San Diego de Alcala' in the South to Mission San Francisco Solano in Sonoma, Northern California.
CyArk  and their partners are currently working to digitally document all of the buildings along the historic California Mission Trail.

Early History
Mission Santa Clara de Asis  Founded in 1777

Oldest University in California

1769- First European Explorer, Gaspar de Portola’- traveled from Monterey up coast to SF.

1770’s Juan Bautista de Anza describes Santa Clara Valley as a broad grassy plain covered with oaks, well watered with marshy creeks and rivers, whose courses could be traced from a distance by trees growing along their banks.

1773 Spanish Viceroy Antonio Bucareli called for the exploration and occupation of the SF Bay Region to secure the valuable port of SF from Russian and British expansion.

1774 Viceroy Bucareli to select sites for future missions. Original site was on San Francisquito Creek near the Palo Alto redwood tree. Two years later, the site was changed to a place on a river to the southeast called Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (Our Lady of Guadalupe)

1776 Mission San Francisco de Asis (Mission Delores) founded

1776 Governor Rivera left Monterey with Fray Tomas’ de la Pena to make one last survey of Palo Alto site

1777, January 12th-  Fray de la Pena held the first Mass at the new Mission Santa Clara de Asis, the eighth mission in California

1777, December- Padres and assistants complete the church and priests’ residents. Another house was under construction. Original buildings were upright logs with dirt roofs. There were two corrals and a wooden bridge across the Guadalupe.

1779, January-  the Guadalupe River overflowed its’ banks, destroying the mission

1779, November- temporary church opened further from the banks of the river. Search for permanent location is ongoing

1781, November 19th- cornerstone for the third Mission Church was laid.

1784, May- construction on the third church with 4’ thick adobe walls completed. Dimensions: 100’ long x 22’ wide x 20’ high

Mission Santa Clara circa. 1785
1818, Mission Church suffers severe earthquake damage. A temporary adobe site was built on the present site of Kenna Hall (1819-1825) Building was raised in 1867

1822, Mexico gained independence from Spain

1830’s,1840’s Mission operated as a parish serving the religious needs of the town of San Jose.

1836, Mission Santa Clara secularized

1849, San Jose’s population grows due to gold rush

1850, Bishop f California, Joseph Sadoc Alemany offered buildings at  Mission Santa Clara to John Nobili of San Jose to open a school.

1851, March 4th- Bishop Alemany appoints John Nobili pastor of Mission Santa Clara

1851, May- Santa Clara College, the first in the State of California, began instructing students

1861, Mission Church remodeled
Mission Santa Clara
Post 1861 remodel

1885, Mission Church interior remodeled to increase seating capacity

1926, October 4th- Mission Church destroyed by fire, caused by faulty wiring. Students managed to save many statues and paintings

Mission Fire 1926

1926, Reconstruction of the church began almost immediately. Rather than a duplication of the church that just burned, the restoration attempted to recapture the appearance of the 1825 church.

Mission Santa Clara Today

 History Of Mission Santa Clara de Asis Teresa Pugh
Mission Santa Clara website