+

There are 21 historic mission landmarks along Highway 101 in California — known as El Camino Real or The King's Road — beautiful yet dilapidated buildings with rusty bells and adobe walls.

These landmarks are Christian missions established between 1769 and 1823 during the Spanish colonization, when the Spanish arrived with the intention of spreading Christianity by converting indigenous people.

These missions have many stories to tell but are in dire need of preservation.


The paint on the walls is chipped to the point of no return. You can see the little effort that goes into their upkeep by the dust collected on the shelves displaying the artifacts, if any, that remain. If these missions were being sold, the description on their conditions would most likely read "as is."

Here are 11 iconic Spanish missions erected by Catholic priests and other religious leaders along El Camino Real that are in desperate need of our attention:

1. Mission San Juan Capistrano, the seventh of nine missions established by Father Serra, was designed in the shape of a cross.

San Juan Capistrano, California. Photo (cropped) by Sharon Mollerus/Flickr.

2. Founded in 1786, Mission Santa Bárbara still functions as a parish church.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

3. Built in 1769, Mission San Diego de Alcalá was the first mission in the Southwest. The garden still has olive trees that are centuries old.

San Diego, California. Photo (cropped) by El Cajon Yacht Club/Flickr.

4. Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, is located 9 miles east of downtown L.A. and has walls that are five feet thick.

San Gabriel, California. Photo (cropped) by Ken Lund/Flickr.

5. Named for King Louis IX of France, Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is considered the most elegant of all the California missions.

Oceanside, California. Photo (cropped) by Ken Lund/Flickr.

6. Mission San Francisco de Asís (also known as Mission Dolores) is located in the heart of San Francisco and is often called the oldest building in the city.

San Francisco, California. Photo (cropped) by Ken Lund/Flickr.

7. Founded in 1777, Mission Santa Clara de Asís is located about 40 miles south of San Francisco.

Santa Clara, California. Photo (cropped) by Kristina D.C. Hoeppner/Flickr.

8. Mission San Buenaventura is home to two Redwood bells, the only wooden bells among the missions.

Ventura, California. Photo (cropped) by Marianne Muegenburg Cothern/Flickr.

9. Named for a 13-year-old martyr, Mission Santa Inés has an impressive collection of clothing and church records.

Solvang, California. Photo (cropped) by Justin Ennis/Flickr.

10. Mission San Juan Bautista is named after John the Baptist and was a popular place to study the fine arts.

San Juan Bautista, California. Photo by luckywhitegirl/Flickr.

11. Located at the foot of Mount Tamalpais, Mission San Rafael Arcángel first served as a sanitarium for people suffering from disease or depression.

San Rafael, California. Photo (cropped) by Rene de la Rosa/Flickr.

While the missions have controversial and painful histories, they have lots to teach us.

The missions represent a forced type of civilization that perhaps the indigenous did not want at first — or ever. Just the same, they're some of the last visual remnants we have of early colonization in the American Southwest.

In California, the preservation of the missions and their archives and artifacts like these are left up to private organizations using donations that trickle in. There's a different sentiment in Mexico, where the missions are considered an integral part of the nation’s history and Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, or the National Institute of Anthropology and History, is responsible for caring for these structures.

A group of about 20 experts from the U.S. and Mexico met at Mission San Gabriel near San Francisco in early June 2016 to discuss how to move forward with a conservation plan.

The University of California-Mexico Initiative's Arts and Cultures Working Group is putting up $25,000 to fund a binational summit to keep these buildings around, with the goal of considering the common history and heritage of the missions and think of new ways of both preserving and presenting the missions to the public.

We didn't get to choose our historic landmarks. But we can choose to take care of them.They are an integral part of our past, and you can help keep them thriving by donating to the California Missions Foundation. As the Foundation so eloquently puts it, "We can save the California missions today for tomorrow."

Photo: Jason DeCrow for United Nations Foundation

Honorees, speakers and guests on stage at We the Peoples

True

Some people say that while change is inevitable, progress is a choice. In other words, it’s a purposeful act—like when American media mogul and philanthropist Ted Turner established the United Nations Foundation 25 years ago.

Keep ReadingShow less

Soul Asylum's "Runaway Train" actually saved 21 missing children.

Anyone who was a teen in the '90s will remember the grunge era. Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were topping the charts with their gravely metaphorical lyrics, but they weren't alone. Soul Asylum burst onto the scene with their solemn anthem "Runaway Train" complete with a video that showcased missing kids.

The video gave missing and exploited children a much bigger platform to be recognized on, because before the video was showcased on MTV, milk cartons were the common method to distribute these photos. In theory, milk cartons seem like a pretty effective way to highlight missing children, but in reality, eventually people would become blind to the photos.

The music video for "Runaway Train" was played all around the world and to the target audience that would most likely recognize the faces. It should come as no surprise, then, that the video helped to bring home 21 missing children. What is surprising, is that the band had to push to keep the pictures of the missing kids in the music video because people didn't think it was working.

Keep ReadingShow less
True

Innovation is awesome, right? I mean, it gave us the internet!

However, there is always a price to pay for modernization, and in this case, it’s in the form of digital eye strain, a group of vision problems that can pop up after as little as two hours of looking at a screen. Some of the symptoms are tired and/or dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain1. Ouch!

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

Florida city commissioner is being called a hero for confronting mayor who cut off power to residents

"You're calling me disrespectful because I've interrupted people, but this gentleman has turned off people's lights in the middle of a global health pandemic."

City commission meeting in Lake Worth Beach, Florida

This article originally appeared on 03.23.20


Palm Beach Post/YouTubeThey say a crisis brings out the best and the worst in people. It also reveals the best and the worst in our leaders.

A city commission meeting in Lake Worth Beach, Florida has gone viral after Commissioner Omari Hardy took his fellow city officials to task for their seeming indifference to their constituents during the coronavirus crisis.

Hardy confronted Mayor Pam Triolo and City Manager Michael Bornstein, who he said refused to call an emergency meeting last week, per Hardy's repeated requests, to discuss issues coming about from the coronavirus crisis. And he let his frustrations show.

"You're calling me disrespectful because I've interrupted people, but this gentleman has turned off people's lights in the middle of a global health pandemic," Hardy said, referring to Bornstein.

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Martin Splitt on Unsplash

Classes available to learn the life saving technique of CPR.

This article originally appeared on 06.27.17


Summer is here. The season of backyard barbecues, long evenings by the bonfire, and a nagging worry that every parent can relate to — the dangers that come with a swimming pool.

The chances a child will die from drowning are relatively low, according to the CDC. But still — it's great to be prepared to step in and help with CPR, should it ever be necessary.


Keep ReadingShow less
Community

A newly single mom gets inspiring life advice from an internet 'Bubbie' who's been there

'Take care of yourself first. When you take care of yourself, you can take care of your kid.'

Photo by arty on Unsplash

A newly single mom gets inspiring life advice from an internet grandma.

Becoming a single mom isn't easy, especially if it's unexpected and you feel wholly unprepared. Recently, a newly single mom posted a tearful plea on TikTok asking for advice on how to navigate her new life. But she wasn't without advice long, "TikTok Bubbie" stitched the video and responded explaining how she survived as an unexpectedly single mom in 1989.

The video was sweet and full of inspiration for single parents starting their journey. In the beginning of the video she explained that her ex-husband left her when her son was 4 years old and took all the money out of the bank account. Being suddenly single caused her to have to give up her acting career.

The internet Bubbie went on to tell the young mom, "I got furniture from the Salvation Army. That's right, I got secondhand furniture. Secondhand clothes for me, my son never. He always was first in my book and still is to this day." TikTok Bubbie wasn't done, she made a second video to expand on her advice.

Keep ReadingShow less