Skip to main content

Image / Pacific Electric Railway at Mission San Gabriel Arcangel

Have a question about this item?

Item information. View source record on contributor's website.

Pacific Electric Railway at Mission San Gabriel Arcangel
Alternative Title
Los Angeles Public Library Legacy Photo Collection
Contributing Institution
Los Angeles Public Library
Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
Rights Information
Images available for reproduction and use. Please see the Ordering & Use page at for additional information.
Title supplied by cataloger.
Mission San Gabriel Arcangel, also known as the San Gabriel Mission, is a former Roman Catholic mission and current historic landmark; it was the fourth of 21 California missions to be founded. The founding date was September 8, 1771, and Padres Pedro Benito Cambon and Angel Fernandes de la Somera were the founding priests. The mission was built from 1791 to 1805 out of cut stone, brick, and mortar, and is the oldest structure of its kind south of Monterey, Ca. It was designed by Father Antonio Cruzado, and is often referred to as the "Godmother of the Pueblo of Los Angeles". Father Cruzado gave the building its strong Moorish architectural influence, with capped buttresses and tall, narrow windows, which are unique among the missions of the California chain. In the early mission era, it came to be known as the "Pride of the Missions" and became the wealthiest of all the early missions due to its large production of crops and trading of cattle hides and wine. On October 1, 1987 the Whittier Narrows Earthquake heavily damaged the mission, but it was fully restored between 1987 and 1993. Today, San Gabriel possesses perhaps the finest collection of mission relics in existence. It has a hammered copper baptismal font that was the gift of King Carlos III of Spain in 1771, and six priceless altar statues that were brought around the Horn from Spain in 1791. Mission San Gabriel Arcangel was added in 1971 as a National Historic Landmark, building #71000158. It is also a California Historical Landmark, No. 158. Two addresses are given for the mission: 428 South Mission Drive, and 537 West Mission Drive at Junipero Street.
View of Mission San Gabriel Arcangel showing the "campanario" and an adobe house on the far left, as well as a yet-unpaved Mission Drive. A streetcar of the Pacific Electric Railway can be seen making a stop along the western part of the mission. The old PE car reads "Alhambra - #207". The 6-bell campanario (or bell wall) was built after the original three-bell structure toppled during the 1812 Wrightwood Earthquake. The adobe structure next to it was also constructed in 1812 and is almost 300 feet long. It was originally composed of a series of rooms: weaving rooms, the granary, carpenter shops, book storage, and sleeping quarters for the mission fathers. The dirt road would eventually become Mission Drive, which was part of El Camino Real - the 600-mile California Mission Trail connecting the former Alta California's 21 missions.
1 photographic print :b&w ;20 x 25 cm. on board 20 x 25 cm.
Photographic prints
Los Angeles Public Library Legacy Collection
Mission San Gabriel Arcangel (San Gabriel, Calif.)
Pacific Electric Railway Company
Street-railroad tracks--California--San Gabriel
Electric railroads--Cars--California, Southern
Missions, Spanish--California--San Gabriel
Church buildings--California--San Gabriel
Street-railroads--California--San Gabriel
Streets--California--San Gabriel
Cruzado, Antonio
El Camino Real (Calif.)
San Gabriel (Calif.)

About the collections in Calisphere

Learn more about the collections in Calisphere. View our statement on digital primary resources.

Copyright, permissions, and use

If you're wondering about permissions and what you can do with this item, a good starting point is the "rights information" on this page. See our terms of use for more tips.

Share your story

Has Calisphere helped you advance your research, complete a project, or find something meaningful? We'd love to hear about it; please send us a message.

Explore related content on Calisphere: