The California Missions: #19

santa-inezThe 19th of the California missions, Santa Ines Virgen y Martir was founded September 17, 1804, and named for Saint Agnes of Assisi, a 13 year old Roman girl who was martyred in A.D. 304. It is one of few inland missions, built on a site chosen as a midway point between Mission Santa Barbara and Mission La Purisima, and once enjoyed the second highest production of wheat in the entire chain as well as a large and relatively stable livestock herd. It also served as a buffer against a hostile Indian group, the Tulares, who lived in the regions to the northeast. An earthquake destroyed most of the original church in December 1812 but the complex wasn’t abandoned, and a new church, constructed with thick walls and great pine beams was dedicated five years later.  This mission is known for its extensive collection of church vestments, which date from the 17th century. Another attraction is a 1820s gristmill (presently in ruins) about half a mile from the church. The mission museum displays the original bells of 1804, 1808 and 1818. Slightly more than 100 years after Mission Santa Ines began operations, a group of Danish educators established the town of Solvang at the edges of the mission’s lands. This mission was secularized in 1834, returned to the Catholic Church in 1862, and restored to its original design in the late 1940s.