Mission San Jose was the 14th mission build in California - 28 years after the mission beginnings in San Diego, so there was more of an infrastructure in place to support its establishment. It was one of four missions established in 1897 under the leadership of Fr. Fermin Lasuen, the second Father President.
The area was identified by a scouting party in 1795. Goods and implements for the new missions were sent from Mexico. Fr. Lausen personally led the founding party which set out from Mission Santa Clara on June 9, 1797. On June 11 they raised a cross at the spot.
The initial buildings were crude wooden structures. Santa Clara sent a six-hundred cattle and some sheep to begin the mission herd.
A gothic style church (known as Old St. Joseph) was built on the site of the mission. It was relocated to Burlingame in 1982 and the original church reconstructed using authentic materials - mission-era sized adobe, hand made tiles, beaded glass chandeliers modeled after the originals.