The East Garden of Mission San Fernando Rey de España isn't exactly what I expected when I went to the Mission to shoot for the WWP "Gardens" event but let's start from the beginning.
Mission San Fernando Rey de España was founded on September 8, 1797 making it the 17th Mission to be founded even though it is the 5th Mission in the line of 21 Missions that progress up from Old Mexico to just north of San Francisco. Each Mission was supposed to be a day's walk from one to the next as people traveled along El Camino Real (the King's highway).
Around 1811 the Mission's population started to decline and after the earthquake of 1812 major sections of the Mission required restoration. Eventually civilization's encroachment put so much pressure on the Mission that it was finally abandoned in 1835 and was sold to the Governor's brother in 1845.
By 1888 the Mission property was being used as a warehouse and stable, later the grounds and patio became a hog farm. Finally in 1896 Charles Fletcher Lummis, a prominent member of the Landmarks Club in Los Angeles, began campaigning to reclaim the Mission property. In 1923, the Church returned to the Mission and the property was turned over to the Oblate Fathers. Since then restoration has continued and there is a museum with artifacts from that period.
Recently the museum acquired a huge altar that is over 360 years old. It was brought to this country and stored at San Fernando. Originally 45 feet high and 47 feet wide, the altar is now in several sections, which completely cover the walls of two of the largest rooms in the Mission.
Everything in the Mission and the adjacent Brand Park across the street, containing an original fountain from the Mission period, has been restored. The grounds are immaculately maintained and the fountain in the East Garden is a copy of the original in Cordova, Spain.
Just for the record Los Angeles' full name is "El Pueblo de Nuestra Señla Reiña de Los Angeles de Porciuñcula" and can be abbreviated to 3.63% of its size, "L.A."
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