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Mission Dolores

Mission Dolores is located at Dolores and 16th streets in San Francisco, California. Giving the "Mission District" its name. The story of Misión San Francisco de Asis (formal name of Mission Dolores) began about 220 years ago. It was in March 1776 that a scouting party under the direction of Lieutenant Don Jose Joaquin Moraga visited the area and named the small stream and lake after the Saint of that day, Arroyo de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores (Lake of Our Lady of Sorrows). He returned to Monterey to convey the news, and received a commission to establish a presidio and mission in the name of Carlos III of Spain. His expedition of soldiers, colonists with wives and children, and two Franciscans arrived on June 27, 1776, to pitch their camp near the lake. That would be the site of the future Mission, and June 29 would become the official birthday of the City of San Francisco. Of the 21 California Missions, this is the third most northerly, and the sixth to be established under the direction of Father Junipero Serra. Misión San Francisco de Asis is situated on a tree-lined boulevard in the heart of a bustling international seaport city, overshadowed by a majestic basilica on the north, and quaint Victorian row houses and apartments on the south. Just outside the rough-hewn redwood doors and sitting in the middle of a grassy median strip is the mission bell that once heralded travelers on the renowned El Camino Real (King's Highway). The old mission is designated as Registered Landmark Number One and is near the geographical center of San Francisco. It is constructed of whitewashed adobe brick under a tiled roof. The facade is extraordinary in that it appears to have four huge columns supporting a second story balcony housing six more small columns and three bells. It is a wonder that the entire facade is fashioned from a single block of adobe bricks 10 feet thick, 22 feet wide, set on a foundation of rock four feet below the ground.