Established in 1798 as the
18th in a chain of 21 California missions, it was established by
Father Fermin Lausen (president of missions during that era) and named
for Louis IX, king of France. Described as the shape of a cross, its impressive architecture combined Spanish, Moorish, and Mexican influence. Buildings were arranged around a 500 by 500 foot quadrangle,
nearly the size of 2 football fields.
Mission San Luis Rey was one of the largest outposts,
stretching over 1,000 square miles in what is now San Diego and Riverside
counties. This outpost provided support for the mission and also allowed
baptized Indians to remain in their native villages and serve the mission
by working on the ranchos.
Built primarily through local labor of the Shoshonean
tribe Luiseno Indians who inhabited the San Luis Rey river valley area,
this mission was the largest and richest. It
featured a huge quadrangle, an intricate aqueduct system which supplied
water for gardens, pools, bathing and laundry, ranching of 16,000
cattle, 25,500 sheep and 2,150 horses and production of 2,500 barrels of
wine. Father Antonio Peyri planned and oversaw the construction of the
Mission's many buildings which included three
churches, the last of which was built in 1815 and still stands.
Owned and operated by the Franciscan Friars of California,
the mission provides both guided and self-guided tours, a museum, gift
shop, Franciscan Retreat Center, cemetery picnic facilities where guests
can sit and relax and a sunken garden as well as facility rentals for weddings
and other functions.
The California missions system underwent great change
after Spain lost control and Mexico divided the spoils of the mission system
under Pio Pico. By 1846, mission life disappeared and its future was bleak
until President Abraham Lincoln signed a decree in 1861, returning
the missions and a few surrounding acres to the Church. 30 more years of
vandalism and neglect followed before restoration took place.
Today, California missions are popular tourist attractions,
drawing people from all over the world and from all faiths.
When visiting Oceanside beaches, the
mission is but one exciting tourist attraction. Harbor shopping,
great Oceanside hotels and
Legoland are but a few nearby attractions to enjoy.
San Clemente <
Oceanside > Carlsbad
Just four miles from the Oceanside Harbor stands "King
of Missions," Mission San Luis Rey de Francia.
4050 Mission Avenue, Oceanside, CA 760-757-3651