Mission San Jose, California

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, Universityof Wisconsin - Green Bay

Mission San Jose gave its name to the surrounding town, which merged with four other towns in 1956 to become the present city of Fremont.
The mission as it appeared in 1978. The church was restored to its original appearance in 1982. The long building is a portion of the original mission quadrangle and houses a museum.

The hills behind the mission mark the Hayward fault scarp. The mission has been pummeled by earthquakes.

Porch of the quadrangle building as it appeared in 1978.
Left and below: vestments and other artifacts on display in 1978.
The restored church in 2007. The protruding ribs look like they might be earthquake buttresses but are really just remnants of the former attached building.

The hanging bell is a marker of the old Camino Real.

The Bay Area Indians were the Ohlone people. At left is a grinding mortar and abalone shells used for gathering nuts and seeds.
Interior adobe walls.
Old church furnishings.
Workbench with built-in vise.
Large iron kettle.
Most historically significant grave is that of Robert Livermore, an English sailor who settled in the Bay Area, acquired a land grant, and prospered. The city of Livermore (maybe best known to non-locals as the site of a number of top nuclear laboratories) is named for him.

I lived in Livermore for a few months when my family moved to California in 1961. I still have fond memories of Livermore, which at that time still had the flavor of an old time California small town. It is now on the verge of being engulfed by the Bay Area development tsunami.

Interior of the church
The present museum building is the surviving remnant of the original mission annex. The foundations have been excavated and remnants of the original walls are still attached to the church.
The original adobe wall.
Old graves in the churchyard. Not all the Catholics in the region were Spanish. There are a few graves with French names and number of Irish.
Grave of the young son of Robert Livermore
A bronze plaque commemorating Robert Livermore. The covered wagon is a bit historically inaccurate.

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Created 15 January 2007, Last Update 04 June 2020