In 1776 Juan Baptista De Anza led an expedition from Mexico to Alta California to er see what was going down. Two of his compadres founded a religious establishment dedicated to St Francis of Assisi and hence the name San Francisco. The site is a mile or so back from where the shoreline would have been at the time. The present church, which is known to all as Mission Dolores, was dedicated in 1791 which makes it the oldest building in the world around here.
The Church is now tucked in beside a much more splendid, post earthquake, Basilica that looks a little like a smaller version of the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
It is nestled on Dolores Street ,which is close to the Mission district. Funny how things hang together.
It is a charming and simple building and, although more recent than the house in which I lived in Rians, France before I came here, has a real feel of antiquity.
Of course the best bit is the graveyard. Here you find the graves of immediate post- goldrush, notable Catholics. They come from all over the world but none of them were born here.
So if you are going to San Francisco, I highly recommend a visit to Mission Dolores. It is a very calm place that has this strange Western American sense of history whereby objects, building, graves that aren’t really very old seem eons away from the present day. Countless generations passed without much changing in most parts of the world. A lot happens in a generation around here.
You can read all about the Mission Dolores here;