Mission Santa Inés Front

Tour map

We’ll start the tour at the front of the Mission (#1 on the map). This used to be the location of El Camino Real, but today is the parking lot.Well, actually, we’ll start off the right side of the map along Highway 246. There you can get a nice view of the area surrounding the Mission as shown in this panorama.

Pan from main road
Picture taken 2:45pm 3 Apr 2002

After walking back to the Mission parking lot turn away from the Mission. Across the parking lot is a viewpoint where you can see one of the old adjunct buildings for the Mission. Sight along the two wooden poles and you will see the remains of the old grist and fulling mills. The grist mill was built in 1820 and fulling mill built in 1821 by Joseph Chapman and is considered to be one of the earliest industrial sites in California. (I tried to find a road to get a closer look at the mill but could not locate one so you’ll have to content yourself with the long view across the field.)

Grist mill
Picture taken 1:20pm 3 Apr 2002

While you are standing at the viewpoint, take another look at the surrounding area. This Mission sits in a beautiful location, situated on a high point overlooking a fertile valley and surrounding hills. In the pan below the grist mill is just off the left side of the picture and the panorama swings some 90 degrees to the right.

Grist mill panorama
Picture taken 1:20pm 3 Apr 2002

On your way back toward the Mission stop in the middle of the parking lot and take in the main Mission reservoir.

Reservoir
Picture taken 1:35pm 3 Apr 2002

From here you can see the whole front of the Mission from the church and bells on your right to the length of the arcade on your left.
Mission church
Picture taken 1:35pm 3 Apr 2002
Mission front arcade
Picture taken 1:40pm 3 Apr 2002
During the 2004 Bicentennial Fiesta Father Mahoney was kind enough to allow me onto the campanero and I was able to take close-up pictures of the two bottom bells from the cemetery side of the campanero. Note that each bell has both the ability to ring by swinging back and forth as well as having an actuator that hits the bell for single rings. They are arranged here as you would look at them from behind so, from the front they are reversed from the orientation you see here (from the front the smaller bell, Santa Ines, is on the right). The date of founding and name forged into each bell is written above the bell.
1881 – “Santa Ines”

Picture taken 1:10pm 15 Aug 2004
1884 – “St. Francis”

Picture taken 1:10pm 15 Aug 2004
Walking toward the front of the church (most people seem to want to have their picture taken standing in the church door for some reason) look to your left at the opening of the arcade. There you will find the Hannon statue of Saint Serra. This particular statue is special to me as I was able to attend the dedication ceremony for it while Mr. Hannon was still alive. Don’t forget to rub his toe for luck. From there proceed down the arcade to the gift shop to start the interior tour.

Front arcade
Picture taken 2:55pm 3 Apr 2002

Serra statue
Picture taken
12:45pm 3 Apr 2002

Archeology

On the day I was visiting I found a bonus. A Professor at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, was leading a volunteer crew in a bit of archaeological research just to the right of the church. The foundation unearthed is believed to have been part of a soldier’s barracks. From just this small portion of the dig area the volunteers had recovered bits of pottery, nails, and glass and were examining the dirt for more evidence of life in the mission era.

Archeology dig
Picture taken 12:55pm 3 Apr 2002
Pottery
Picture taken 2:50pm 3 Apr 2002