Kids Corner

The Old Mission
San Juan Bautista Story

Visiting Mission San Juan Bautista today is like going back in time to the 1800’s when the area was
populated by Native Americans of the village of Popeloutchom, Europeans, Mexican Californios and American gold miners and settlers. Surrounding the Mission plaza are the stables, Plaza Hall-Zanetta House, the Castro-Breen Adobe and the Plaza Hotel. One of America’s first highways, the Spanish King’s Highway or Royal Road, is just below the Mission cemetery with many of its parts still being used today. A single bell on a pole marks the way of the famous

“El Camino Real”. The Old Mission was founded in 1797 by Spanish friars and soldiers,
and its original and current structure was completed in 1812, and dedicated on June 24, the feast day of John the Baptist. However, just 6 months later, an earthquake rumbled the area. For fear of more damage from another earthquake, the beautiful arches inside the church were filled with adobe brick as a safety measure, not realizing the great San
Andreas Fault is just 100 feet away The Old Mission has been an active church for its people and visitors since it was founded. Throughout the year, besides regular Sundayservices, the Mission welcomes baptisms, weddings, funerals, concerts, plays and eventhe movie, Vertigo, was filmed here in 1957. On December 21st each year, the Mission opens the front doors in the early morning so neighbors and visitors can watch the sun light up the altar during the winter solstice.

Now let’s see what you have learned or know about our beautiful Mission…

  • 1. What happened in 1906 making the church walls crumble?
  • 2. How many bell towers did the Mission SJB have?
  • 3. Does Mission SJB have a bell tower or a bell wall today?
  • 4. What was the name of the Indian village before the Mission was built?
  • 5. From what country were the friars and soldiers?

* See the reverse side for the answers to this quiz

The Old Mission has been an active church for its people and visitors since it was founded. Throughout the year, besides regular Sunday services, the Mission welcomes baptisms, weddings, funerals, concerts, plays and even the movie, Vertigo, was filmed here in 1957. On December 21st each year, the Mission opens the front doors in the early morning so neighbors and visitors can watch the sun light up the altar during the winter solstice.