San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo

San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo
Second of the California Missions
Founded: June 3, 1770
Special Designation: Father of the Alta California Missions
Named For: Saint Charles of Borremeo, a 16th century Italian cardinal.
Also Called: Mission Carmel
Founding Father President: Fr. Junipero Serra, who was also the founding missionary. The Blessed Serra is buried at this mission.
Founding Missionaries:
Prominent Missionary Leaders:
Indians Joining This Mission: The Rumsen tribelet (of Costanoan family) and the Esselen were the principal groups whose members joined this mission. Other Costanoans (called Costanos or coast people by the Spanish) included the Sargantroc, Guachirron and Kalendaruc.
Mission Site: Originally established at the presidio in Monterey but relocated in 1771 to the Carmel Valley on a hillside that was "two gunshots" from the ocean.
Layout: An irregular shaped quadrangle. Only the ruins of the church remained standing when restoration began in 1921, so extensive excavation of the old foundation was required to determine the precise layout of the mission.
Water Source: A zanja or aqueduct and nearby springs that once fed the mission fountain and lavanderia or wash basin.
Population: Highest recorded population was 876 in 1795.
Livestock: San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo had one of the smaller livestock herds: 2,100 cattle and 3,300 sheep in 1832. The mission's best livestock years were in the first decade of the 19th century when the herd ranged between 8-10,000.
Agricultural Output: The mission had extensive agricultural fields away from the coast, where wheat, barley, corn, beans and various vegetables were grown at mission ranchos. Over the years 1782-1832, Carmel reported harvasting over 154,000 bushels of grain and produce.
Mission Church: The stunning Carmel church (the seventh Carmel church) was completed and dedicated in 1797. The sandstone for the church was quarried by Indian laborers under the direction of master stonemasons Manuel Esteban Ruiz and Santiago Ruiz. The walls are five feet thick at the base.
Mission Bells: There are two dissimilar bell towers, one with a Moorish-style dome. The largest tower holds nine bells, most of which are original. There is an outside staircase to the tower.
Mission Art: Mission Carmel is filled with significant art and original artifacts. One of the most notable attractions is a large wooden cross in the quadrangle, recreated on the site where fragments of the Cross erected by Fr. Serra were discovered during the mission restoration.
Special Attraction: One of the most popular attractions is the elaborate Serra Memorial Cenotaph (a monument not a tomb) sculpted in 1924 by Jo Mora. This is made of travertine marble and bronze and shows life-sized figures of Fr. Serra and three other pioneer missionaries, all of whom are buried under the church sanctuary.
Significant Event(s): In 1818 Hipolyte de Bouchard, an Argentine privateer, attacked and burned Monterey. The Carmel mission was evacuated but it was not harmed.
Secularized: 1834
Year Returned to Catholic Church: 1859
Current Status: A Catholic Church designated a Minor Basilica in 1961 by Pope John XXIII.
Interesting Facts: 

Carmel was headquarters of the mission chain from 1770-1803

The noted mission restorer, Sir Harry Downie (1903-1980), appointed the Carmel curator in 1932, guided the mission restoration for almost five decades, personally carving the reredos and pulpit of the church in 1956-57. Downie is buried in the mission cemetery.

Fr. Junipero Serra was selected to represent the state of California in Statuary Hall in Washington D.C. Sculptor Ettoro Cadorin's magnfiicent 7' fall statue of Fr. Serra, unveiled in 1939, pictures him holding a model of the Mission Carmel church.

The Carmel mission Orchard House of circa 1774 is the oldest residential dwelling in California.