Mission San José

Mission San José (sometimes called Mission San José de Guadalupe because of the nearby pueblo named San José de Guadalupe) was founded on June 11th, 1797 by Father Fermin Lasuén and named for Saint Joseph. The mission is fourteenth in the California Mission Chain. In September 1797, the first chapel was already completed and in 1809 a new adobe church was dedicated.

Although Mission San José was originally planned as a military base in the effort to control the troublesome Ohlone Indian tribes of the inland valleys, it eventually became one of the most successful missions in the entire chain. The mission ranked third for number of converts, size of livestock holdings and agriculture production.

In 1806, Father Narciso Durán arrived at Mission San José and worked there for 27 years. Thanks to him, San José also became known for its music in which the Franciscan Father excelled. During his stay at the mission, Father Narciso Durán organized and directed the converted Indians in an elaborate orchestra other than training them as tile and adobe brick makers, blacksmiths, rope makers, shoemakers and carpenters.

The mission was secularized in 1834 and sold in 1846. It was returned to the church in 1858 and became a parish church. An earthquake on October 21, 1868, known at the time as the “Great San Francisco earthquake”, completely destroyed the mission. Within a short time, a new wooden church in Gothic style was built directly above the stone foundation and the tile floor of the collapsed church. The Gothic church was restored in 1916 and remodeled in 1950 using wooden buildings. It served as St. Joseph parish church. In 1965, St. Joseph parish was further expanded with the addition of a church-hall.

Starting from 1973, plans were made to build a replica of the original 1809 adobe church. In 1982, the St. Joseph wooden church was moved across San Francisco Bay and relocated in San Mateo. In 1982, the new restoration project was started on the original stone foundation and completed in 1985. Real adobe bricks were used for reconstruction and the mission was restored to the way it looked in 1809. The interior was restored as it was in the early 1830’s. Today, it is considered to be one of the most authentically reconstructed of all California missions and it looks very much as it did during the mission era.

Location of Mission San José

43300 Mission Boulevard, Fremont, CA 94539, United States

Official Website of Mission San José

Official Mission Website