Photographer's Note

California's history began with the Spanish Missions. The chain of 21 missions along California's El Camino Real, represent the first arrival of non-Native Americans to California. Life for California Native Americans was forever changed. In addition to Christianity, missions brought many other things to California such as livestock, fruits, flowers, grains and industry. This was also the start of the civilization in which Californians live today. Unfortunately, as a result of the arrival of the Spanish, many Native American lives were lost.

The climate at the original mission site was severe, often with chilly sea winds and damp fogs. This did not help the natives stricken with diseases brought by foreigners. More than 5,000 Native Americans eventually died from a measles epidemic. The problem of sick natives was so great that, in 1817, a hospital mission was opened in San Rafael where the Mission Dolores inhabitants could recuperate in the sunshine. Later this became the Mission San Rafael Archangel.

In 1782 the mission was moved to its present site. In 1791 a beautiful new adobe church was dedicated. The Neophytes (Christianized Native Americans), using 30,000 sun-dried adobe bricks and redwood trees from nearby groves, built this church so well that it withstood the famous 1906 earthquake. Spared the earlier destruction of so many other California mission churches, it has been carefully preserved and today is the oldest intact building in San Francisco. The decorative altar depicted in this picture came from San Blas, Mexico, in 1796.

This image represents my final contribution to the Scavenger Hunt. I had no intention when this began of being the first to complete the Hunt, but as I say in my introduction I have too much time on my hands and this proved to be too challenging an adventure to ignore. Thank you Darren and Adam for this playful June. Now I must get back to more serious subjects, like rust! ;-)

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Additional Photos by Curtis Grindahl (cgrindahl) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 963 W: 400 N: 2031] (6113)
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