Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa


The heart of San Luis Obispo is still its mission. When Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa was built in 1772, fifth in the chain of Mexican outposts in California, the Spanish padres used local native Indian labor to build the original church with adobe bricks topped by a thatch roof. After it was destroyed by fire, the mission was rebuilt with clay tiles that they made themselves. Missions throughout California fell into disrepair when Mexico declared independence from Spain and secularized the missions. The citizens of San Luis Obispo took it upon themselves to restore the old church. But they misguidedly added “modern” improvements: wooden siding, floors and ceiling and built an addition. A bell tower was added to the mission, to make it look like a New England style church. Another fire in 1920 took that renovation and it was not until 1934 that the mission again appeared as originally built. Now the active parish, with six Sunday masses, is flourishing with congregation of 2,200 families. The mission covers the entire block and is truly the jewel in the crown of Mission Plaza.

Today, the Mission Museum has exhibits featuring Indian artifacts and mission furniture. At the front of the stately church in Mission Plaza, events like I Madonnari, the annual chalk painting festival, concerts, art shows, and public gatherings are held. There is a small rose garden on the street side with a statue of the church’s namesake, Father Saint Luis.

Open Daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Donations requested.

751 Palm Street, San Luis Obispo, California 93401
(805) 543-6850
www.missionsanluisobispo.org




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