TheTwenty-first and last of the California Missions
July 4, 1823
Saint Francis Solano, a Spanish Franciscan who served for 20 years as a missionary in Peru and Paraguay.
Fr. José Altimira
In the center of Sonoma, 40 miles north of San Francisco.
Traditional quadrangle, near which the town of Sonoma developed.
There was ample water from a spring a quarter of a mile northeast the mission complex.
The highest mission population was 996, in 1832.
San Francisco Solano only operated for eleven years before it was secularized. It did have a meaningful herd of 3,500 cattle and 900 horses. The mission's total of 5,063 animals (in 1832) was the smallest in the mission chain.
Mission Sonoma did not have time to fully develop its agriculture. Output between mission founding and 1832 was only about 14,000 bushels, of grain and produce. An official U.S. Land Survey shows a large mission vineyard.
The current church is an authentic restoration of the 1840 church, rebuilt in 1911-13 with the support of the Historic Landmark League, which acquired the property in 1903. The last major restoration was in 1943-44. The church measures 105 feet long and is 22 feet wide.
A wooden frame outside the mission entrance holds one of the original bells, which was cast in 1829.
The wing that was the padre's quarters is now a museum. What was the dining room in this section of the mission now displays mission paintings done by Chris Jorgensen between 1903-1905. The Mexican-era soldiers barracks (just across from the mission) has been restored and now contain a small museum and a gift shop.
The Bear Flag Revolt of June 14, 1846, declaring California a Republic, was staged directly across from the mission.
Sold to a private party in 1881. Now part of Sonoma State Historic Park.
Indians Joining This Mission:
Neophytes were primarily members of the Coast Miwok, Pomo, Suisunes, Wappo and Patwin tribes. The mission was established at the site of the village of Huchi.
The mission was established by an overly eager padre acting without church approval.
The Sonoma Mission is the only mission established during Mexican rule of Alta California.
General Mariano Vallejo, who became Director of Colonization of the Northern Frontier in 1835, and who had control of Sonoma until the American takeover, "rescued" all the plantings from the mission vineyard after secularization and replanted the vines at his ranch.
The names of the Indian neophytes of the Sonoma Mission have been carved into a commemorative wall on the west side of the mission church.