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Mission San Miguel Arcangel Historical Time Line

1797 Mission San Miguel Founded .
For some months during the summer of 1795 Padre Sitjar from Mission San Antonio explored the region between San Luis Obispo and San Antonio. Finally, on July 25, 1797, two years later, Presidente Fermin Francisco de Lasuen took formal possession of the land for Viceroy Branciforte and founded the 16th of the California missions. One of the chief purposes of the new mission was to facilitate travel between Mission San Luis Obispo and San Antonio. The mission system was so devised that each mission was a day's travel from its neighbor.

1806 Disastrous fire destroys buildings.
The first chapel had to be replaced in a years time by a larger adobe church. Workshops were constructed and living quarters established. Before sturdy tile roofs could be put over the buildings, a disastrous fire occurred in 1806. A major portion of the mission's equipment, produce and buildings were destroyed. Neighboring missions came to San Miguel's aid, however, and in a year's time the mission was functioning again.

1816 Present Mission Church begun.
In 1816 stone foundations were laid for the church which survives today. Under the direction of Padre Juan Martin, the Indians had been preparing adobe for several years. The construction proceeded rapidly. And, in 1818, the Church was ready for roofing. Three years later, Esteban Munras arrived to supervise the interior decorations for which the Church is now famous.

1836 Mission San Miguel is secularized.
On July 14, 1836, Ignacio Coronel assumed jurisdiction over San Miguel's mission property and lands for the civil government. Three years after the secularizing of the mission, many of thc Indians had run away; Padre Moreno found the mission so despoiled that he had to retire elsewhere to support himself. Padre Abella, the last Franciscan at San Miguel, died in July, 1841.

1859 U.S. Govermnent returns Mission to the Church.
Mission San Miguel, which had been confiscated after secularization, was returned to the Church by President Buchanan.

1878 A padre is once more sent to Mission San Miguel.
After 38 years without a resident padre, Rev. Philip Farrelly took up residence as First Pastor of Mission San Miguel. Secular clergy made various repairs to the mission buildings

1928 Mission Returned to Franciscans
In 1928 Mission San Miguel was returned to thc Franciscan Padres, the same group who had founded the mission in 1797. The Franciscans began an extensive renovation and preservation effort which continues to the present day. Today, completely privately funded, the Mission functions as a parish church, novitiate, and retreat house.

Today Best Preserved Interior
Many of its original decorations are still intact. The mission's appearance today is much the same as when it was first founded, and it stands as one of California's best-preserved and authentic reminders of the past.

The Mission