After 16 years of bureaucratic fumbling around, a mule train left the San Francisco Presidio on September 17 of 1791 to found mission Santa Cruz. On September 25th, they fired their guns in ceremony and started construction of a temporary wooden palisade fortlike structure, and started baptizing the heathens.
The actual mission was started on February 27, 1993, and the completed 112 foot long stone and adobe structure opened its doors on May 19, 1794.
For 40 years, Santa Cruz was the property of the Franciscan monks, who, by the way, were revolutionaries in their own way, they ignored the law that forbade letting the Indians ride horses, and had Ohlone cowboys up till 1834. The record of what the mission produced that year is quite impressive and includes 1000 horses. Thus was the region’s disdain for the common wisdom forged.
Mission Santa Cruz only had one martyr, a monk named Quintana who was killed by Ohlones.
The church fell down several different times and was rebuilt until finally the brick Catholic church was built in 1889. A wealthy woman by the name of Gladys Sullivan Doyle, had the Holy Cross Mission built in 1932 to 1/2 scale using drawings of the adobe.
by Gary Starkweather
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