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June 6, 2006 > Founder's Day, Mission San Jose

Founder's Day, Mission San Jose

by Janet Grant

DECK: Celebrate the 209th anniversary of Mission San Jose, Sunday, June 11.

The year was 1797. King George III still sat on the throne of England, but the New World was no longer his. Instead, John Adams was the new President of the United States of America, all 16 of them. While the Americans were busy making history on the East Coast, the Spanish were busy making history on the West Coast. On June 11, a small band of soldiers and Franciscan padres led by Father Fermin Francisco de Lasuen, founded Mission San Jose, the 14th of California's 21 historic missions, in the shadow of Mission Peak.

In 1769, Spaniards led by Father Junipero Serra, began establishing a chain of missions extending north from Mexico into Alta or Upper California. They were to be placed one day's horseback ride from each other and instrumental in Spanish expansion and Christianization of indigenous peoples. Mission San Jose became an important military outpost and prosperous agricultural center. Its lands extended north almost to Oakland, east into the Livermore Valley, up through the Sacramento Delta, and west toward the San Francisco Bay.

Blessed with rich soil and mild weather, Mission San Jose's total agricultural output was second only to Mission San Gabriel's and its olive oil production was the highest of any of the missions. With the arrival of Father Narciso Duran, Mission San Jose also became famous as a music center. His method of teaching Spanish music to the Indians was copied throughout the mission system.

The history of Mission San Jose is synonymous with the history of Fremont and Alameda County. From the first point of contact between the European settlers and the native Ohlone Indians, the quest for exploration and settlement brought saints, rogues, explorers, soldiers, pioneers, and statesmen to leave their mark on this area.

Remember the founding of Mission San Jose by joining the celebration sponsored by the Committee for Restoration. There will be a commemorative Mariachi Mass on Sunday at noon in the Mission. Mariachi music will continue in the Dominican Sister's Olive Grove behind the Mission Museum following the Mass. Other festivities include a barbecue and musical entertainment. There will also be children's activities and a piñata.

Mission San Jose Founder's Day Celebration
Sunday, June 11
Noon to 5 p.m.
43300 Mission Blvd. (at Washington Blvd.), Fremont
(510) 657-1797 ext. 103

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