Mission San Luis Rey

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Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is a former Spanish mission in the city of Oceanside, California. The mission was founded on June 13, 1798 by Padre Fermín Lasuén, and was the eighteenth of the Spanish missions established in California. Named for Saint Louis, the mission lent its name to the Luiseño tribe of Mission Indians.


Mission History

The current church, built in 1811, is the third church on this location. It is a National Historic Landmark, for its pristine example of a Spanish mission church complex. Today the mission complex functions as a parish church of the Diocese of San Diego as well as a museum and retreat center.

Back in the day, San Luis Rey De Francis Mission raised about 26,000 cattle as well as goats, geese, and pigs.

The first Peruvian Pepper Tree (Schinus molle) in California was planted here in 1830, now iconic, widely planted, and renamed the California Pepper tree in the state. After the Mexican secularization act of 1833 much of Mission San Luis Rey de Francia land was sold off. During the Mexican-American War in Alta California (1846–1847), the Mission was utilized as a military outpost by the United States Army.

Today, Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is well maintained. This Mission is architecturally distinctive due to the combination of Spanish Renaissance, Moorish—Mudéjar, and Spanish Colonial architecture styles.

Historic Trails

This mission is an important marker on two early Historic Trails of America:

  • El Camino Real - trail of the Spanish priests to all 21 historic California missions.
  • Mormon Battalion Trail - 25-Jan-1847, saw the arrival of the Mormon Battalion on historic march from Iowa to the Pacific Ocean during the height of the Mexican-American War, before marching onwards to San Diego. A portion of this army unit would return to camp here from Feb-July 1847.
  • San Luis Rey River Bike Trail - modern day bike path near the mission.

Historic Landmark Status

  • U.S. National Register of Historic Places #70000142 (15 Apr 1970)
  • California Historical Landmark #239

External Links