The founding of the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel dates from the decision of Padre Serra to find an establishment midway between San Diego and San Carlos Borromeo. Thus, the fourth Mission had its beginning on September 8, 1771, near the present city of Montebello. The selection of the site was fortunate, for it enabled the Mission to become one of the most affluent of all those in Alta, California.
San Gabriel Arcangel is a distinctive, historically significant mission. In the mission era it was the spiritual and economic center of a complex of ranches engaged in cattle-raising and agriculture. It remained a vital road hub through the early years of the 20th century while preserving it’s agricultural roots. No visit to Southern California would be complete without a visit to San Gabriel, which will reward you with it’s stunning architecture and outstanding collection of devotional art.
The Moorish-style Mission church looks like a fortress. It’s capped buttresses and long narrow windows are similar to those of the cathedral of Cordova, Spain. Fr. Antonio Cruzado, in charge of building the church, received his early training in Cordova. San Gabriel Mission Church, Museum, Gardens and Gift Shop are open for a self-guided tour.