Spanish Colonel Period of California


According to Wikipedia, “the Spanish colonel period of California is from 1769-1821 and the Mexican period is from 1821-1848.” In our opinion one of the best places to see this period of time is in Santa Barbra, California. The Spanish came in the 1800’s to occupy and Christianize the area and nothing testifies to that more then the missions that they left behind. A lot of historians of that time call Old Mission Santa Barbra the Queen of the California Missions.


Mission Santa Barbara:


This mission was established on the feast of Saint Barbra December 4, 1786 and was the 10th of the 21 California missions which were founded by the Spanish Franciscans. Out of all the missions that we have seen this one is the most splendid arictecture and well preserved mission. Unlike other historic buildings most of the mission survived the great 1906 earthquake. You might want to start with the museum and do the tour of the mission and then its garden. There are docent guided tours available on Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays but it is open for self guided tours daily. It is a nine room museum of historical artificial artifacts and interpreted displays.

Beautiful works of art through out the missions.
If this mission was in any other place you would not feel like you stepped back into time but because it is located in Santa Barbra as you find yourself a spot on the lawn outside, in front of the mission to sit down and have a picnic you find yourself surrounded by views of Spanish style homes, mission historic park, and mission rose garden which will make you feel like your in a place far away from California which you are so used to.


If you want to get a better look at this beautiful Spanish city, the best thing for you to do is to head over to the old courthouse clock tower because as you stand on top of the tower you can see pretty much the whole city of Santa Barbra. From up here it is obvious why they have called it the American Rivera.

Santa Barbra County Courthouse:

This is a U.S national historic landmark and California historic landmark. It was not built during the Spanish colonel period because it was completed in 1929 but it is a Spanish Colonial Revival style building and architect  Charles Willard Moore called it, ” grandest Spanish Colonial Revival structure ever built.” After you take in the views of the city from the clock tower make sure to tour this magnificent courthouse and check out the courtrooms, staircases, and hallways. Take lots of pictures because this will be one of the most beautiful historic landmarks you will see.


Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa:

Another great Spanish colonel period city is a central coast city of San Luis Obispo which like many others started with a Mission. Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa was built in 1772 and it was built with adobe bricks by Native American Chumash people. This was the 5th Mission built out of the 21 and it is the only “L” shaped mission church built.

The Mission was founded by Father Serra who founded 9 out of 21 of the Missions. He chose to put the mission where he put it because of the food, water, and citizens. He built the mission in a place called Valley of Bears. The natives followed the Catholic church further into the life of the mission. 


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Hands on Learning:

Most children who live in California learn about the Early California Missions in 4th grade. We decided to make a model of the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. We bought almost everything at the dollar store. What you need is 15 floral foams, box of lasagna, sand, hot glue, paint (red, white, and brown), 3 jingle bells, and two sticks. Kids loved making it and it was easy to make it.  


Royal Presidio Chapel:

Another great example of the Spanish history architect is the Royal Presidio Chapel also known as San Carlos Cathedral is the California’s first cathedral. It was established by the order of King Carlos 3rd (numerals) of Spain in 1770. San Carlos Cathedral is the oldest building in monetary and was built in 1794 and it is the only remaining originally Presidio chapel in California. Also, it is the oldest continuously active church on the Pacific Coast of the United States.

This beautiful church is the first cut stone, artictact-design building in California.

You won’t want to miss this church it was my favorite.


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Drawing using Pastels:

Esther drew the Royal Presidio Chapel using pastels. Such a beautiful Chapel.


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7 Responses

  1. I love this!! It makes me want to travel to California even more =) Look how happy your children are – great job, momma!

  2. Wow. That is beautiful! I would love to see the mission in person someday.

  3. I’ve never been to Santa Barbara but the architecture looks absolutely stunning! And I love the hands-on learning!

  4. Wow! I’d love to visit this one day!

  5. i love historical sites. and this one made me amazed.

  6. Khristopher

    I super love the mosaic and the lovely church you visited! What a great way to teach kids about the history of a certain place!

  7. I love this! I’m a CA native, but now like in IL, and I still love learning and visiting the missions !

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