San Miguel Historic Images
San Miguel had a long and complicated in the years after it was founded on July 25, 1797.
After the mission was secularized in 1834 many neophytes stayed on the mission property. Then, in 1845 the mission buildings were sold. Fortunately, the mission remained largely intact despite portions being rented for a store, dance hall, offices and a saloon between 1848-1870.
Mission San Miguel mission was restored in the 20th century and used as a Franciscan novitiate beginning in 1928-29.
This gallery contains illustrations and photographs that show San Miguel at different times in the fascinating life of one of the best-preserved mission complexes in California.
Mission San Miguel
By H.M.T. Powell, 1850. Powell, a gold seeker from Greenville Illinois, sketched a number of the California missions in during his adventure (1849-1853).
Drawing of Mission San Miguel
San Miguel by Edward Vischer
The Indians at San Miguel
Juan Bautista Alvarado harangues the Indians at San Miguel, by Alexander Harmer. Alvarado (1809-1862) was a key figure in California during the Mexican era, serving as governor from 1837-1842.
Mission San Miguel
By Henry Sandham, 1883, a drawing in the collection of David J. McLaughlin.
In the mission era, San Miguel did not have a bell tower.
San Miguel by Will Sparks
Edwin Deakin’s painting of San Miguel
The Mission before it’s restoration
REstoration began in 1901. Courtesy, Library of Congress.
Sign and bell tower at the edge of the complex
Sign and “bell tower” at the edge of the extensive San Miguel complex, by Carol Highsmith, courtesy of Library of Congress.
This modern brick tower is visible from route 101.
The San Miguel mission today
A photograph by David J. McLaughlin, 2016.
Front of the mission church
The colonnade of Mission San Miguel
The Sanctuary and altar of San Miguel
By Carol Highsmith, courtesy Library of Congress