San Antonio de Padua

Third of the California Missions
July 14, 1771
Special Designation: 
Mission of the Sierras
Named For: 
Saint Anthony of Padua, a thirteenth century Franciscan, the finder of lost possessions
Founding Father President: 
Fr. Junípero Serra
Founding Missionaries: 
Frs. Miguel Píeras and Buenaventura Sitjar.
Mission Site: 
Located in the Santa Lucia Mountains in an oak studded valley southeast of Monterey, on a what is presently a military reservation. The setting of this mission is much as a traveler would have seen two centuries ago.
Traditional quadrangle, largely restored by W.R. Hearst and the Franciscans between 1948 and 1952,. Signs mark the location of important buildings and features, such as the water-powered gristmill, throughout the vast mission grounds.
Water Source: 
San Antonio River, about three miles above the mission. Water was brought by aqueducts or zanjas and stored in reservoirs.
Highest recorded population was 1,217, in 1806.
In its peak livestock year of 1828 the mission had 20,118 animals, including 8,000 cattle and 10,000 sheep. For practicality the herd was dispersed to several locations. Ranchos San Benito and San Bartolomo del Pleyto were used for sheep and lambs. There were cattle ranches at Los Ojitos and Rancho San Miguelito, all within three to ten leagues (10-30 miles) of the mission.
Agricultural Output: 
This mission quickly became self-sufficient. Over the years it was an active mission San Antonio harvasted 110,000 bushels of wheat, barley, corn, beans and peas.
Mission Church: 
The present or 3rd church was completed in 1813. In 1821, an arcade with three arched openings and fashioned from ladrillos or burned brick, was built out from the church portico, giving the mission a unique appearance. The church was fully restored by the Landmarks Club between 1903 and 1908.
Mission Bells: 
Each side of the facade includes a square bell tower, both of which have one bell. The 3rd and largest bell, which is original, is at the center of the arcade, over the largest arch.
Mission Art: 
The walls of this charming church boast painted decorations painted by the mission Indians. Behind the altar is a large bultro of the arcángel San Miguel, with extended wings and just below, the bultro of the church patron, San Antonio.
Special Attraction: 
The extensive restoration and unspoiled setting of San Antonio de Padua makes this one of the most picturesque missions in California. It has an extensive museum with a number of exhibits displaying various aspects of daily life at the mission. The site also boasts the most complete, and largely unrestored, Mission-era water control system in California.
Significant Events: 
In 1776, Lt. Col. Juan Bautista de Anza stayed at the mission with 240 immigrants from Sonora. San Antonio proved to be an important stop in Anza's pioneering effort to establish a land route from Mexico to Alta California.
Year Returned to Catholic Church: 
Current Status: 
A retreat center.
Prominent Missionary Leaders: 
Fr. Buenaventura Sitjar remained at San Antonio de Padua for 37 years and is largely responsible for it success. This tireless missionary created a 400-page native vocabulary, and used this to develop catechism in the Indian language
Indians Joining This Mission: 
This was the first mission established in the land of the Salinan people at the site of Telhaya. In the mission era the natives who became neophytes at San Antonio de Padua were called Antoniaños . Mission records show the natives were predominantly Northern Salinan but there were some Yokuts and Esselen.
Interesting Facts: 
The first Catholic wedding to take place in California occurred here in 1773 between a Salinan Indian woman named Margaretta de Cortona and Spanish solider Juan Maria Ruiz.
Two figure heads from colonial frigates were brought by sailors. They stand in a display outside the arcade of the mission.
San Antonio de Padua was the first Alta California mission with a fired-tile or teja roof, and the very first with over 1,000 neophytes
San Antonio de Padua was known for the excellence of its music. Displays in the museum show musical notations on the walls and a large diagram of hand signals used to teach the neophytes.
For over three decades the mission has been the site of an annual archaeologicl field school directed by Dr. Robert Hoover of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.