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Pan-American Exposition of 1901

The Old Spanish Mission1


THIS reproduction of an old Spanish mission is situated south of the Stadium and directly northeast of the northeastern turn of the environing Canal. It is built in the style of the old Spanish missions, the east wing being almost a reproduction of the Mission of Santa Barbara, California. A chapel, cloisters, courts, and a shop, arranged about a garden on the banks of the Canal, compose the group, the walls stained with age, and the tiled roof green with moss.

A low, heavy tower with tiled dome, the walls thick and low, with window openings grilled with heavy wooden bars, suggest Father Salvierderra in "Ramona" and the abode of the Franciscan monks of to-day. Fully in keeping is the lavishly planted garden, picturesque in its pointed cedars, its cocoanut- trees, palms, and plants imported from the tropics, while a fountain graces the center, about which are grouped marble columns Supporting branching beams, on which are perched gay-plumaged parrots and macaws. Entering from the dike-walk on the Canal side, and passing through the arch under the tower, this garden is reached. Shut out at once from all the stir and whirl of the Exposition, surrounded by flowers and brilliantly colored birds, and the green of tropical trees, one is in some measure prepared for the quiet pictures within the building. To the west of the garden the shop is entered, with walls wainscoted with patterns in the style of old Cordova leathers, and hung with scenery papers suggesting a landscape of forests and distant mountains. The chapel, wainscoted with marble and rich with columns of mosaic and marble, serves as a fitting frame for the beautiful windows of the Leland Stanford Junior University of California, which is built in the mission style of architecture. These windows were executed in an artist's studio in New York, and were to be placed this summer; but Mrs. Stanford has permitted their exhibition here before installing them in the university building. Looking through the archways south of the garden, a cloistered court is seen, about which implements of the farm are picturesquely arranged, suggesting the early monastic days when the brothers of the mission tilled the land, and worked in the shops among brilliant colors and artistic surroundings, with music and flowers and gardens to make their day's labor a pleasure, and their life one of peace and quiet and repose. And over all hangs the bell, whose story, so well told by Bessie Chandler, would seem to bring the legend home to us to-day.


Long years ago, so runs the ancient story,
Two bells were sent from Spain to that far clime
New found beyond the sea, that, to God's glory,
And in his house, together they might chime.

And to this day one bell is safely swinging
Within its shelt'ring tower, where, clear and free,
It hallows each day with its mellow ringing.
The other bell, the mate, was lost at sea.

III And when in gentle chimes the bell is pealing,
The people listen; for they say they hear
An echo from the distant ocean stealing:
It is the lost one's answer, faint, yet clear.



1. Text quoted directly from the Art Hand-Book, Official Handbook of Architecture and Sculpture and Art Catalogue to the Pan-American Exposition. Ed. David Gray. Buffalo, N.Y.: David Gray, 1901. Sources of the images are noted with each.