Return to The Mission page

The layout of Old Mission San Miguel

1. St. Michael's Room: In this room is a 16th century Spanish woodcarving of Saint Michael (San Miguel), the patron saint of this mission and statue of the "Sorrowful Mother" (Mater Dolorosa). The crucifix above you, as you walk into the second room, was once on the mission church altar.

2. Mission Model Room: Examine the excellent models of Missions San Miguel & San Antonio made in 1936 by San Quentin prison hospital inmates. The wine vat dates back to the 1820s.

3. Garden Corridor: View the interior garden of the mission quadrangle. Look for the cross on a tree that once stood on the old mission highway (El Camino Real). The passage way to right was a sheep gate.

4. Kitchen: You are entering the padre's quarters with interior adobe walls built in the early 1820's. The beehive oven is original.

5. Dining Room: Examine closely the walls with built-in cabinets and the 1889 photograph of the church.

6. Padre's Bedroom: Look for a typical bed of old mission days, the fireplace, sheepskin windows, and the gray hat worn by Franciscans in earlier days.

7. Living Room: It was used as the padres' administration room. Note the display of ground minerals that were mixed with cactus juice to paint the walls of the church.

8. Mission Colonnade Step back to admire the original 12 arches and notice the planned variety of their shapes. Enjoy the many varieties of cactus and the cannon built in Spain in 1697 - brought to the mission by the Mexican army.

9. Mission Church: The present church built was between 1816-1818. We suggest you start at rear of the church to get a feeling of length (144 feet), width (27 feet), and height (40 feet).The interior decorations are original and the best preserved of any Mission chain. The walls are about six feet thick. The width was determined by the length of the original timbers in the ceiling. The decorations are the work of Esteban Munras (artist) with Indian help. As you approach the altar, note the lovely colors, the all-seeing eye of God, and graves of early friars on sanctuary floor.

10. Cemetery: The bronze statue of Christ was formerly in the church. The 2000 pound bell, in the tower was cast in San Francisco in 1888 from fragments of older bells. The mission book of burials shows the first burial in this cemetery was on March 17, 1798 and there are 2,249 Indian names in that book. Father Joseph Mut (Moot), thc parish priest from 1886-1889, is the only priest buried here.

The Mission