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Mission Nuestra Señora Dolorosísima de la Soledad, thirteenth in the chain of Alta California missions, was established on October 9, 1791 by Fr. Fermin de Lasuén, at the site of an Esselen Indian village. One of the chief purposes of this mission was to facilitate travel between Mission San Carlos de Borromeo de Carmelo and Mission San Antonio de Padua. The mission system was designed so that each mission was one day's travel from its neighbor. Appropriately named Our Lady of Solidtude, the lonely location, the stubborn soil, and the damp winter winds all contributed to a less than successful mission. In its beautiful but lonely location many miles from any town, this mission more than any other looks just as it did in early Spanish times. Entirely of adobe construction, Soledad Mission fell completely into ruin after its forced abandonment in 1835. In 1954, restoration of what little was left of the Mission Soledad began. When restoration was begun, only piles of adobe dirt were remaining. All that was left was the front part of the chapel. Today a small wing of seven rooms and a small chapel have been completed. The small chapel was rebuilt using adobe bricks that were handmade from the dust of the old bricks. Original possessions were located and returned to their places. The original bell was hung near the chapel entrance. Although the original quadrangle is gone, the lines of it can be traced in the mounds of the adobe ruins. The ruins of the quadrangle, cemetery and some of the rooms can still be seen at the mission, and archeology continues as time and funds permit. Location: In the Salinas River valley, 3 miles south of the town of Soledad and 1 mile west of U.S. Highway 101.

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Additional Photos by Jackie Larson (jassy) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 134 W: 17 N: 308] (1065)
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