Fact #11

According to its website, the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala was “the first Franciscan mission in the Las Californias Province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain.” This is a view from inside the mission’s sanctuary, facing the entry. I chose this angle because the choir balcony helps me visualize a part of its history many people are unaware of. Following the Mexican American War in which the U.S. won control of California and other lands, the mission was occupied by the U.S. Cavalry from 1848 to 1858. The interesting/sad part is how they used the grounds. They converted this beautiful sanctuary into a two-story building. The upstairs was used for an infirmary while the downstairs became a stable. Though a cemetery already existed at the mission, the cavalry created their own military cemetery and is rumored to have used the former cemetery as a place to conduct their drills. 


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