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Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad
Photograph by Robert A. Estremo, copyright 2004

 

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Location: Soledad

Founded: October 9, 1791

Founder: Father Fermin Lasuen

Status: Active Catholic Chapel in the town of Soledad.

Indian tribes native to surrounding area: Ohlone, Costanoan, Esselen, Miwok, Yokuts


The name of the mission – Our Lady of Solitude – came about due to a misunderstanding. The Spanish missionaries encountered a party of Indians and asked their name. The Indians responded with a word that the Spanish heard as Soledad, or solitude, and this determined the name of the mission.

The location was indeed isolated. During its existence, the mission went through 30 Friars, most of whom requested transfer after a year or less.

The mission was also plagued by repeated flooding from the nearby Salinas River, and a smallpox epidemic killed Indians by the hundreds.

Key Events

1791 - Mission founded.

1834 - Mission secularized.

1859 - Mission returned to the Catholic Church by President James Buchanan.

Visiting the Mission

Today visitors can see archeological excavations, the remains of a few mission buildings, and a small museum.

There is also a simple adobe chapel, built in 1832, and reconstructed in 1955. Colorful paintings and wall decorations can be seen on the interior and exterior walls.

 

Well-labeled archeological digs.
Remains of adobe walls.
Interior of the mission chapel.