Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


Mission Loreto

Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó

Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó

Loreto has the most historic of the missions The mission, inscribed with the cool title of “Cabeza y Madre de todas las Misiones de la Alta y Baja California,” was the original headquarters for the Jesuit settlement of the Californias, and the starting point of the Camino Real, aka the California Mission Trail. Pretty much all of the early expeditions to the Californias passed through there.

Map on Wikimedia scanned from California from the Conquistadores to the Legends of Laguna

Map from: California from the Conquistadores to the Legends of Laguna

The mission was founded in 1697 and the stone building was built in 1740, but it has been modified, damaged, repaired, and renovated various times.

18th Century Drawing of the Mission

18th Century Drawing of the Mission, public domain

Mission Loreto in 1957

Mission Loreto in 1957


Mission Loreto 2010

Mission Loreto 2010

There’s an eclectic mix of stone on the mission. The front facade is quarried limestone, but I counted five different kinds of stone on the entire building, plus some bricks added during some repair jobs. The mix of bricks and stone is something I’ve seen on the mainland of Mexico, and, for large buildings, the effect is much nicer than I would have expected.

Basalt, Limestone, and Brick

Basalt, Limestone, and Brick

More photos of the mission are below.

Courtyard of the Museum

Natural Cross made of Wild Fig Root

Wild Fig Root Cross

The Arched Gate

The Church Courtyard

Stone, Bricks, and Stucco

One of the Doors

The Main Facade

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2 Responses to “Mission Loreto”

  1. February 8th, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    lostlandscape(James) says:

    I prefer how it looked in the 18th century or even 1957–I’m not sure the asphalt parking lot does much for its period flavor! The wall with the basalt and limestone and brick is pretty wild. Maybe it was plastered over at some point?

  2. February 9th, 2010 at 9:19 am

    ryan says:

    Yeah, Toyotas don’t really add period flavor. The Mexican tourism board has done a lot to develop the town and the town has grown up around the mission more than a lot of visitors would like. I actually liked the town of Loreto more than I expected, though.
    It looks like part of the wall was stuccoed, but I’ve seen stone and brick combinations used in new construction that was left exposed, so I don’t know what the intent was.

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