As a part of every fourth grade class, students across California study “California History” (side note: when I was a kid, I thought this was standard curriculum across the United States – I was a bit disappointed to discover later in life that schools outside of CA didn’t value our history as much as they should!). California has a rich and varied past – it is interesting and captivating even for fourth graders.
Just a brief background for those of you not lucky enough to have grown up in California: The Western United States (and Mexico, Central America and parts of Northern South America) was first discovered and explored by Spanish and Portuguese “conquistadors” in the 16th century. Contrary to the wealth and sophistication found further South, there were few advanced Native societies in California. Explorers mainly left California unspoilt for another 100 years.
In 1769, the Jesuit order of priests (or “padres”) began an arduous task: building a network of Jesuit Missions up the California coast. The first mission was established in San Diego, CA and was the start to a 54 year 21 Mission network from San Diego to San Francisco. Right in the middle, built in 1772 is Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. In its time, the Mission was the center of life and religion on the Central Coast. Today, not too much has changed.
Today, in the summer time, SLO organizations hold outdoor events on the Mission grounds. If you visit during the summer be sure to check out Concerts in the Plaza, Taste of San Luis, I Madonnari, Children's Day in the Plaza and many others.
There is so much to do and see in SLO County – the Mission is just one part of SLO’s wonderfully vibrant past and present. Come explore and enjoy!