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San Rafael in Marin County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Mission San Rafael Arcangel

Then and Now

 
 
Mission San Rafael Arcangel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 26, 2013
1. Mission San Rafael Arcangel Marker
Inscription. Founded in 1817 by Padre Vincente Sarria as an “asistencia” or adjunct to Mission Dolores. Mission San Rafael was originally designated a sanitarium for native converts suffering from San Francisco’s generally damper climate. Here, under sunnier skies and the medical care of Padre Luis Gil, many of the “neophytes” were restored to good health. With the addition of local converts, the asistencia soon grew from a few hundred to over 1000 inhabitants. Under the impressive tutelage of Padre Juan Amoro, native women were taught a range of domestic skills while the men were trained as farmers, blacksmiths, carpenters, cowboys, and boat builders. So successful were they in making the asistencia a thriving self sufficient community, that in 1822, San Rafael was raised to full mission status. In 1834, however, the Mexican government, far less committed to the missions as was Spain, decided to secularize them. Following secularization, the Church maintained some presence in San Rafael, but the mission’s subsequent history is one of abandonment and gradual decline. At times, its facilities were used by civic and other groups. In 1846 General John Fremont used the mission as headquarters in his battles to establish the Bear Flag Republic. The mission buildings were ultimately destroyed to make room for the growing pueblo of
Mission San Rafael Arcangel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 26, 2013
2. Mission San Rafael Arcangel Marker
The marker is located in the center of the courtyard between the Mission Chapel and the Church of Saint Rafael.
San Rafael. The Church, nevertheless, maintained its presence here. In 1847 a priest was once again living at the mission; in 1861 a small chapel was built near the ruins of the original one.

This map shows Mission San Rafael in the year 1831. It is based on three maps of the ruined mission. The maps do not always agree but historians think this is most likely how it appeared. The buildings do not face the street we see today, but in 1831, they looked down the main road of town.

Looking at the map we see some things that are typical of Spanish colonial churches and things that are not. It is typical for a church to have a place for people to live on one side of the church and a cemetery on the other side. Unlike most of the missions there never was a courtyard or plaza. (Marker Number 220.)
 
Location. 37° 58.462′ N, 122° 31.683′ W. Marker is in San Rafael, California, in Marin County. Marker can be reached from 5th Avenue, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1104 5th Avenue, San Rafael CA 94901, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Gate House (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Falkirk Community Cultural Center (approx.
Mission San Rafael Arcangel Marker and the Church of Saint Rafael image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 26, 2013
3. Mission San Rafael Arcangel Marker and the Church of Saint Rafael
0.2 miles away); The Belrose Theater (approx. ¼ mile away); Marin County Civic Center (approx. 1.6 miles away); Historic Dedication of the Lagunitas Road Bridge (approx. 1.8 miles away); Greenbrae Brickyard Superintendent's Cottage (approx. 2.2 miles away); Green Brae Brick Kiln (approx. 2.4 miles away); Dixie Schoolhouse (approx. 3.9 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in San Rafael.
 
Also see . . .
1. Mission San Rafael Arcangel. Mission San Rafael Arcangel, the 20th of the California missions, was established as a helper, or asistencia, to Mission Dolores in December 1817. It was then that over 200 Indians and four Franciscan friars, Sarria, Abella, Duran and Taboada, traveled across the bay to found a hospital mission whose patron, Arcangel Rafael, is God’s healing messenger. (Submitted on April 28, 2013.) 

2. San Rafael Arcangel. Mission San Rafael Arcangel was founded on December 14, 1817 by Father Vicente de Sarria under the patronage of San Rafael Arcángel, the angel of bodily healing. It was the 20th mission in the 21 mission
Mission San Rafael Arcangel Chapel and Side Buildings image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 26, 2013
4. Mission San Rafael Arcangel Chapel and Side Buildings
chain in Alta California. The mission started as an asistencia hospital to treat the sick Indians from Mission San Francisco de Asis. A number of the invalid Indians were transferred to the new settlement and, with a handful of converts attracted from the vicinity, they formed a neophyte community. By the end of the first year, the asistencia had a population of over 300. Before long, the little colony at San Rafael was a healthy community in which more than 1,000 neophytes were living. On October 19, 1822, San Rafael was declared independent of Mission Dolores and raised to full mission stature.
(Submitted on April 28, 2013.) 
 
Categories. Churches, Etc.
 
Native Daughters of the Golden West Plaque at the Entrance to the Courtyard image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 26, 2013
5. Native Daughters of the Golden West Plaque at the Entrance to the Courtyard
In Memory of the Founders of
Mission
San Rafael Archangel

Dec. 14, 1817
Presented by
Marinita Parlor No. 198
N.D.G.W. at the Serra
Sesquicentennial Celebration
Oct. 23, 1934
N.D.G.W. Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 26, 2013
6. N.D.G.W. Plaque
Cornerstone on the Mission Chapel image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 26, 2013
7. Cornerstone on the Mission Chapel
Founded * 1817
Rebuilt * 1949
Plaque Mounted on the Front of the Mission Chapel image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 26, 2013
8. Plaque Mounted on the Front of the Mission Chapel
Viva Jesus!
"On the 14th of December 1817 Fra Ramon Abella, Narciso Duran, Luis Gil, and I planted and blessed with solemn ceremonies the Holy Cross at the time of Vespers, and on this day Holy Mass was sung with music; Te Deum and the world of God was announced in both languages. In the afternoon there were 26 baptisms of children; we have about 200 for instructions."

Report of Vicente de Sarria, PREFBCTO, to Mariano Paybras, Presidente
California Registered Historical Landmark Sign image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 26, 2013
9. California Registered Historical Landmark Sign
This sign, originally placed on the street is now on display in the mission gift shop.
Mission Bells image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 26, 2013
10. Mission Bells
Mission San Rafael Arcangel Chapel image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 26, 2013
11. Mission San Rafael Arcangel Chapel
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page has been viewed 676 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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