San Diego Historic Images
Mission San Diego was founded on July 16, 1769, on Presidio Hill, and relocated about five and a half miles inland in 1774. This gallery contains several illustrations of events in the mission’s early history and artist drawings of the mission church originally built in 1813 on its present site.
After the American takeover of California, the California missions became a popular subject in the Illustrated Magazines of the day, and we have included several of these illustrations as well as a contemporary photograph in this gallery.
Cabrillo’s ships entering San Diego Bay in 1542
A painting by Robert Marcotte.
Spanish raising cross onshore of San Diego in 1769
Claiming the area for Spain, an illustration by A.B. Dodge, colorized © 2014, Pentacle Press LLC.
Land expedition Approaching San Diego in 1769
After a painting by Lloyd Harting (1901-1974).
Founding of Mission San Diego on Presidio Hill - July 16, 1769
After a painting by Carl Oscar Borg.
San Diego Mission 1850 by HMT Powell
Powell left Greenville Illinois in April 1849 for the California Gold Fields. He sketched a number of the California Missions during his travels, returning home in 1851.
San Diego, 1856 - a drawing made by Henry Miller
Miller is credited with creating the first complete set of drawings of the California missions.
San Diego de Alcala 1874 by Vischer
This drawing shows the isolation of the old mission after it was secularized. Religious services were held in Old Town.
Color Lithograph of Mission San Diego
Circa 1856, this is thought to be after a painting by Henrich Balduin Mullhausen.
This illustration was published in Volume V of an 1856 “Exploration and Survey Report” for a railroad that would extend from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Coast. From an original print in the collection of the California Missions Resource Center.
A scene at Mission San Diego, by H.W. Bartlett, c 1856
From the collection of Pentacle Press LLC
Old Mission San Diego by Louis K Harlow 1895
Courtesy, Library of Congress
Mission San Diego
The ruins of Mission San Diego, published in 1890 in Century Magazine, in the collection of Pentacle Press LLC.
A drawing of Mission San Diego by Henry Farny, 1889
1820 painting by Edith Buckland Webb
Mission San Diego as it looked c. 1820, by Edith Buckland Webb (1877-1955)..
This is considered the most accurate rendition of how the mission looked in its peak years.
Cemetery at the former Asistencia of Santa Isabel
Still in use today. The mission fell into ruin after secularization but retained a Christian community. In 1924 a contemporary chapel was built on the site of the original church.
Mission San Diego as it looks today
A photograph by David J. McLaughlin