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Navigation for La Purísima Concepción:

Tour Map

We'll start our tour of the buildings at the cemetery and work our way "up" the map. While there is an Indian burial ground near the park entrance, the main cemetery is in the courtyard next to the church and behind the belfry. Enter through the gate.

Belfry by cemetery
Picture taken 11:55am 21 Jul 2001

There are no marked graves within the cemetery; just a cross at the far end. But, tread with care, legend has it the cemetery, indeed the whole Mission, is haunted!

Cross in cemetery
Picture taken 2:40pm 21 Jul 2001

From the cemetery you can easily see the back of the campanario with its three bells. The structure was copied from Mission Santa Inés. According to a sign the two bottom bells are original to the Mission (note that they swing) and the top bell was carved from wood and set in place to await a bronze bell. To my eye, the top bell looks real and metal; a clapper is clearly visible. On the other hand, when the bells were rung at noon only two sounds were heard (you can listen to a Windows Media Access [.WMA] file of the bells by pressing the button between them). You judge by looking closely at the picture and listening. I'll clarify on a later visit when I hope to be able to climb the campanario and see the bells up close.

Picture taken 2:40pm 21 Jul 2001


to ring the bells

Picture taken 2:40pm 21 Jul 2001

Don't stop at the cemetery. Proceed through the back gate and walk a ways up the hill. Looking back you see a unique (and beautiful) view of the bell tower and cemetery.

Back of cemetery
Picture taken 2:45pm 21 Jul 2001

Also behind the cemetery are the soap/tallow pits. Tallow was a major feature of the missions. Interior lighting was all by candles and tallow was the major ingredient in soap. These pits were used to render beef fat. Over a low heat the fat would melt and separate into clear and cloudy components. The clear tallow was drawn off and used for candles and soap.

Soap pits
Picture taken 2:45pm 21 Jul 2001

OK, let's continue the tour at the church. Go back through the cemetery and turn left; the church entrance is by the large stand of cactus.

Church entrance
Picture taken 2:25pm 21 Jul 2001

Let's now go into the church...Trail

Navigation for Mission La Purísima Concepción:

Mission Home :: History :: 1st Mission :: Map :: Corral Area :: Cemetery :: Church :: Workshop :: Courtyard :: Workshop Interior :: Monastery :: Monastery Interior :: Chapel :: Kitchen :: Blacksmith :: Village & Garden

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Copyright © 2002 Tom Simondi, All Rights Reserved
Pray the rosary for peace!