San Bernardino Asistencia

Established as an adjunct to Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, this is often said to be part of a second, inland chain of missions. At the site is a museum, small chapel, and gatehouse. This is a three-picture panorama of the inner grounds.

Panoramic Overview
Picture taken 12:00pm 27 Dec 2001


There is some disagreement in references about the status of this complex. Many call it an asistencia of Mission San Gabriel Arcángel while Msgr. Weber in his well-researched history of the Catholic Church in California indicates it was nothing more than an estancia (basically a cattle ranch associated with the San Gabriel Mission). Because the California landmark calls this an asistencia I’ll continue to use that term, with reservations.

Records indicate a chapel (San Bernardino de Siena) in the San Bernardino valley as early as 1810; its location was some distance from the current structure and the entire area was disturbed by the 1812 earthquake stopping development. 1819 saw further development of cattle ranching in the area with quarters for a visiting missionary being available in 1820.

The current site was built in 1830 but was looted by attacking Indians in 1834; some Indian neophytes were also killed there that year. This basically was the end of the asistencia and it quickly passed into private hands. José de Carmen Lugo purchased the property in 1842. It was sold to the Mormons in the early 1850s, was a school, and used as a furniture factory. In 1857 Dr. Benjamin Barton purchased the property. In 1925 the County of San Bernardino took over the property. Restoration was complete in 1937.



Unfortunately, while my visit was on a day/time the asistencia was scheduled to be open it was not. Therefore, there are no indoor pictures and just the few outside pictures I could get by holding the camera over the fence that surrounds the grounds. Perhaps I’ll be able to visit again on another day.

Front bells
Picture taken 12:00pm 27 Dec 2001
You’ll know you’ve arrived at the asistencia by the bell tower along Barton Road. Park in the lot next to the complex; but, only in the spaces closest to the asistencia as the lot is shared by a local business.

Enter at the front, just past the El Camino Real bell and California landmark sign.

El Camino Real Bell
12:00pm 27 Dec 2001
Picture taken 12:00pm 27 Dec 2001
Picture taken 12:00pm 27 Dec 2001
The grounds are small with just a few buildings. Outside you can see a mission bell and fountain. From the look of it over the fence the bell is likely original and the fountain a reconstruction.
Mission bell
Picture taken 12:00pm 27 Dec 2001
Picture taken 12:00pm 27 Dec 2001

[Added in April 2005: Visitor Kristen Jennings was kind enough to provide some pictures of the inside of the chapel that she had taken on a recent trip to visit the Asistencia. Presented below are some views inside the chapel from those pictures presented with her permission…

Interior Long View

Altar Up Close

View Toward the Back



Landmark sign
Picture taken 12:00pm 27 Dec 2001

San Bernardino Asistencia

This branch of San Gabriel Mission was constructed about 1830 on the San Bernardino Rancho. During the 1840s, its buildings were used by José del Carmen Lugo as part of his rancho grant. Later, after its sale to the Mormons, it was occupied by Bishop Tenney in the 1850s, and by Dr. Benjamin Barton in the 1860s. Its restoration was completed in 1937 by the Works Progress Administration, assisted by the San Bernardino County Historical Society.

California Registered Landmark No. 42

Plaque placed by the California State Park Commission in cooperation with the San Bernardino County Museum Association, April 24, 1960.


The structure is approximately 1.8 miles from Interstate 10 in Redlands. Heading East on I10 from the Los Angeles area pass the I15 and I215 intersections in San Bernardino. About 5 miles from the I215 junction exit at Alabama Street and turn right (South). Proceed 1.4 miles to Barton Road and turn right (West). The asistencia is .4 miles further at 26930 Barton Road.


  • Phone: (909) 793-5402