San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission, Carmel

#4 of 15 in Historic Sites in Monterey County
Mission · Hidden Gem · Religious Site
Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Río Carmelo, or Misión de San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, first built in 1797, is one of the most authentically restored Roman Catholic mission churches in California. Located at the mouth of Carmel Valley, California, it is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark.

From 1797 until 1833, Carmel Mission was the headquarters of all Alta California missions. It was headed by Saint Junípero Serra from 1770 until his death in 1784. It was also the seat of the second missions presidente, Father Fermín Francisco de Lasuén, who was in charge of completing nine more mission churches.

In 1833 the mission buildings and lands were secularized by the Mexican government. By the mid-19th century, the Carmel Mission structures had fallen into disrepair. The chapel was saved from total destruction when the roof was rebuilt in 1884. In 1886, ownership of the mission was transferred from a group of Franciscans to the Diocese of Monterey. Ever since, Carmel Mission has been a parish within that Diocese.

Beginning in 1931, Harry Downie began restoring the mission and worked continuously on the project for the next 50 years. It is the only Spanish mission in California that has its original bell and bell tower.
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  • We went to the mission of San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, which was founded in 1770. We learnt that Carmel Mission was the headquarter of 7 other missions in California and Spain’s expanding...  more »
  • This is a surprisingly large property. There are quite a few buildings to look through besides the Basilica. Its a very serene place to visit. Very well maintained. It's hard to imagine what it...  more »

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