Mission San Gabriel Arcángel

The site chosen for Mission San Gabriel Arcángel was well inland from the ocean on the Rio de los Temblores, now called River Santa Ana. However, once at the spot, the two Franciscan Missionaries charged by Father Serra with the founding of the new mission, decided that a better location was needed and kept moving overland until they crossed the San Gabriel River.

On September 8, 1771, Fray Pedro Benito Cambón and Fray Angel Fernandez de la Somera founded Mission San Gabriel Arcángel near Montebello town under the Presidency of Father Serra. The mission was fourth in the Mission Chain and named for the Archangel Gabriel.

In 1776, due to heavy rains, the mission was moved to its present site, about five miles to the northwest and nine miles east of today downtown Los Angeles. This third and final site was near the Tongva Indian village of Shevaanga and had the advantage of being on a broad and fertile plain.

Mission San Gabriel has a strong Moorish architectural influence throughout all its forms. The original church was impressive in its Moorish style. The side campanario, or side bell wall, is magnificent and holds six beautiful bells.

At the height of its existence, Mission San Gabriel Arcángel had no rivals in all its various enterprises compared to other missions in California. Mission San Gabriel always stayed well ahead of the rest in wine-making, grain production, and the like. During the early mission era, the mission became known as the “Pride of the Missions” or the “Queen of the Missions”.

In 1812, an earthquake seriously damaged the impressive church of Mission San Gabriel. After repairs in 1828, the mission was secularized in 1834 and later traded to settle a debt. In 1859, the mission returned to the Catholic church.

In 1987, the Whittier earthquake once more damaged the mission, but in 1993, its buildings were restored. The cemetery of San Gabriel Mission is the oldest in Los Angeles County, and it includes a large crucifix memorial honoring more than 5,500 Indians of the Gabrieleño – Tongva tribe, more than 80 Claretian Missionaries, and many others.

The foundation of Mission San Gabriel Arcángel is celebrated every year on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of Labor Day weekend: religious, historical, and cultural events at the mission commemorate the occurrence. Indeed, San Gabriel is one of the most informative missions for travelers in the Los Angeles area.

Location of Mission San Gabriel Arcángel

429 S. Junipero Serra Drive, San Gabriel, CA 91776, United States

Official Website of Mission San Gabriel Arcángel

Official Mission Website