MISSION SAN ANTONIO DE PADUA
4th Grade Project by Makala
It’s great having a dad who likes to explore and enjoys the history of the west. When it came time to do the field work on my project I just knew he would volunteer to help me. My field project included a picture board display and dvd video narration of my visit to the mission.
Mission San Antonio de Padua was the third of 21 missions founded in the state of California. The land surrounding the mission site was first surveyed during the Portola Expedition in 1769. In 1771 the first Spanish missionaries arrived, set up camp and founded the mission. Father Serra returned to the mission in 1772, and discovered that its inhabitants had nearly starved to death. They had only survived because of the help they received from the Salinan Indians, who shared their food supply. Two years after its founding, the mission site was moved 2 miles north to its current location where water was more accessible. Although the mission appears to be in its original form, it was actually reconstructed throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s. In 1774 there were 178 Salinan Indians living at the mission site. By 1805 the number had grown to 1,300.
Mission San Antonio de Padua had become known for its success raising horses and its rich soil where wheat was grown. Father Buenaventura Sitjar implemented an irrigation system that was utilized in watering the wheat fields, and designing a gristmill.
Heavy rains in 1825 caused some of the structures associated with the mission to collapse, but they were soon after replaced with larger and stronger buildings. In 1834 when Mexico won its independence from Spain, it discovered that it could not afford to keep the missions operating as Spain did for many years. Mexico decided to end the mission system and sell off the lands. Many were sold off in parcels to Mexican ranchos. After about 30 years the abandoned missions, many of which were in great despair, were offered back to the Catholic Church.
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