The Nineteeth of the California Missions
September 17, 1804
Mission of the Passes
Saint Agnes of Rome, a thirteen year-old Roman girl martyred in A.D. 304
Founding Father President:
Fr. Estévan Tápis
Frs. José Antonio Calzada and Romualdo Gutiérez
An inland mission, Santa Inés was established near a rancheria, Alajulspu, in the Santa Inéz Valley and sits on its original site. It is on the eastern edge of the town of Solvang, founded in 1911 by a group of Danish educators. Note that the name of the valley and the town of Santa Inez is spelled with a "z" while the mission is spelled with an “s.”
Traditional quadrangle and neophyte housing area
Both Alamo Pintado Creek and Zanja de Cota Creek passed through the mission lands and water was channeled via an elaborate system of canels into two stone-lined reservoirs, a lavanderia and mill complex.
The mission was established late in the mission era and only operated for thirty years. There were relatively few natives in the immediate area. The highest mission population was only 768, in 1815
Santa Inés had a large and relatively stable livestock herd. In 1832 the mission had 9,460 animals, including 7000 cattle and 2000 sheep.
Over the years between 1804 and 1832 Santa Inés harvasted over 121,000 bushels of wheat, barley, corn, beans, peas, lentils, garbanzos (chickpeas) and habas (broad beans). It had the second highest production of wheat in the entire chain.
The current church, with its plain facade, dates to 1817. The interior was repainted with the current design in 1825, and the nave was recently embellished with additional floral motifs along the whole of its length.
The mission museum displays the bells of 1804,1808 and 1818.
The mission is known for its extensive collection of church vestments, which date from the 17th century through 20th century and includes a Chasuble worn by Fr. Junipero Serra and a 17th century cape crafted in materials from the Court of Louis XIV of France. The impressive mission museum includes a painting of the Archangel Raphael rendered on canvas by an Inézeño or neophyte convert of Santa Inés.
In 1820 a grist mill fed by Zanja de Cota Creek was constructed about a half mile from the church. The mill system consisted of two large stone reservoirs, a stone mill building wiht a water-propelled horizontal wheel and mill stone, and a network of zanjas or canals. A second (fulling) mill was added at the upper end of the large reservoir in 1821. The mill ruins are now owned by the California State Parks, with long-term plans to provide public access in a new State Park in Solvang.
The largest Indian uprising in the mission era began at Santa Inés in 1824, triggered by the excessive beating of a neophyte by a soldier.
Year Returned to Catholic Church:
Santa Inés is an active Catholic Church of the Archdioces of Los Angeles.
In 1924 the Capuchin Franciscan Fathers (Irish Province) took over responsibility for Santa Inés, and have done a masterful job in its restoration.
Indians Joining This Mission:
This mission is located in the land of the Chumash people and was initiaslly populated by neophytes from missions Santa Barbara and La Purisima. The neophytes at Santa Inés were referred to as Inézeño (after the mission). They were one of three distinct linguistic/geographic entities of the Eastern Coastal Chumash.
The mission served a buffer against a hostile Indian group, the Tulares, who occcupied the region to the northeast.
Santa Inés was never totally abandoned after secularization, and California's first seminary / college, Our Lady of Refuge, was built in 1844 on the mission grounds.
The mission companario collapsed in 1911 and was rebuilt with five bells. It was finally restored to its original design in 1947.
Mamie Goulet, the neice of Father Alexander Buckler, devoted twenty years (1904-1924) to the restoration of the vestments of Santa Inés.