The Presidio Hill and the Junipero Serra Museum
The Presidio area of San Diego represents the site of the oldest European settlement on the West Coast and is rich in history. In 1769, Father Junipero Serra planted a cross on Presidio Hill and dedicated the mission and presidio to San Diego de Alcala. The original mission only lasted 5 years however before they built a new mission east approx. 6 miles closer to the San Diego River. The land on this point was so hard to till and water was scare so the decision was made to move the mission. Buried beneath the lower lawn is where the original mission is buried. Some of the early artifacts of the early mission are on display inside the museum.
I mistakenly always thought this structure was a reproduction of that first Mission but in fact this structure was built in 1928 by George Marston as a tribute to Father Junipero Serra as a museum dedicated to the history that took place at this site.
Presidio means Fort and this is where the early Spaniards made their first Fort with their army artillery and garrison as they progressed to colonize the upper more Northern areas of Baja Californina ( New Spain) in what was referred to as Alta California.
The King of Spain was concerend that the Russians that were seen seal hunting in the pacific, might decide to settle the land so the colonization by Spain seemed more urgent. The King of Spain sent 5 expiditions from Mexico ( New Spain) 3 by sea and two by land. Father Juniper Serra lead the land expidition.
This was the first settlement in this far west land in what would ultimately become California. So I believe it would be safe to say that California started right here on this ground where San Diego in 1769 became the first settlement in California.
Father Junipero Serra personally started the first 9 of the 21 Missions that would be built and still remain in California. The first mission was here in San Diego named Mission San Diego de Alcala and also marks the birthplace of Christianity in the far west. Here is a bit of trivia that is so fun to remember. The 21 missions were established over 600 miles from San Diego to San Francisco. They are 1 days walk apart, figuring approximately 30 miles between each, some being a little further and some others a little closer together, the difficulty and speed of the travel based on the difficulty of the terrain.
The building architecture you see above is called Mission Revival. In fact the building was designed to look as if it were a mission. I will do a separate post on the Mission San Diego de Alcala and cross reference it here so I can share with you some of this original history.
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