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Sonoma Mission Courtyard

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Navigation for San Francisco Solano:

Exit from the museum into the courtyard. Turn left after going through the door and you will see an area covered over with growth that covers the area where a second half of the building once stood. Look closely at the wall. Those pieces of wood sticking out of the plaster once connected to others. The growth is there to protect the area until such time as it can be excavated and studied in detail.

Along Church wallExpand
Picture taken 11:31am 19 Feb 2012

(Click on any picture on the page for an enlarged version. In the lightbox you can also start a slideshow that cycles through them.)

Should you need them, the restrooms are at the back right of the courtyard. Looking from that location you can see the fountain with the Mission in the background. On the right you can see the start of a large growth of Prickly Pear cactus in front of where the dormitory was. CourtyardExpand
Picture taken 11:57am 19 Feb 2012

PIcture taken 12:00noon 19 Feb 2012

The cactus, in mission times, served as a living fence and food source.

We'll continue across the cactus to the opposite wall where there are displays of various cooking tools and a sitting area were classes are periodically held on their use.

Beehive OvenExpand
PIcture taken 11:58am 19 Feb 2012

Tallow PotExpand
Picture taken 10:19am 19 Feb 2012

When you get over to the display area the two major items you will see are a large tallow pot and a beehive oven. Tallow had many uses at a mission; particularly for candles to provide light at night. The beehive oven was used for making bread and any other baking need. Hot coals would heat up the oven and then the product to be baked inserted and the door closed to keep the heat in. After some time, the door was opened and the baked bread removed.


Beehive OvenExpand
Picture taken 10:20am 19 Feb 2012

Take some time to look at the exhibits along the walls in this area. Examples of the different types of fibers worked during mission times and other educational materials are on display.

Looking back toward the Church you should see another important area awaiting excavation being procted by plants.

Along Church WallExpand
Picture taken 12:01pm 19 Feb 2012

The center of the courtyard is a quiet sitting area with many shade trees and a fountain. The fountain is not original to the Mission as it's sitting in the middle of what would have been a busy work area back when the Mission was active. Despite that, it's still a pretty area and the construction of the fountain made use of some discarded construction material.

Fountain and ChurchExpand
Picture taken 10:18am 19 Feb 2012

Picture taken 11:59am 19 Feb 2012
Tile DrainExpand
Picture taken 10:00noon 19 Feb 2012

As you walk around be certain to look up as well as around. Swallows are common visitors to eaves and overhangs all over California.

Exterior bird nestExpand
Picture taken 10:30am 19 Feb 2012

As you head back toward the Mission museum to exit be certain to detour over to the left and see the covered pathway. There you can see a good example of adobe construction. Keep that pathway's location in mind as you are going to want to see it again from the outside when you leave the Mission.

Open WalkwayExpand
PIcture taken 11:54am 19 Feb 2012
Adobe DetailExpand
PIcture taken 11:54am 19 Feb 2012

Now, find the door back into the museum where you can exit if you are finished with your tour of the courtyard and inside of the Mission.

Museum DoorExpand
Picture taken 12:01pm 19 Feb 2012

Now, let's go back outside and just look around...Trail


Navigation for Mission San Francisco Solano:

Mission Home :: History :: Museum :: Chapel :: Courtyard :: Exterior :: Jorgensen Watercolors :: Sonoma Plaza :: Sonoma Barracks :: Lachryma Montis

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Copyright © 2003-2012 Tom Simondi, All Rights Reserved
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