October 31, 2009

exploring history in Sonoma

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

If you only have three dollars to spend and you're looking for the best California State Park value, I'd suggest stopping by Sonoma, California; to visit the mission, barracks, and General Vallejo's opulent home.

Text from an informational sign:   "Mariano Vallejo was born in Monterey, California, in 1807, a native son of Spanish citizenship.   His father was a Spanish soldier accompanying Father Junipero Serra on the famous 1769 expedition to establish the chain of Missions in California".

"In 1822 California changed to Mexican rule and the following year Vallejo beame an officer cadet with his father's presidial company.   For six years he trained as a professional soldier.   In June 1829 he received his first test of fire in two Indian battles".

"These victories brought recognition from the Mexican Governor and he sent Vallejo north to the frontier (Valley of the Moon--Fort Ross region).   He turned the mission lands around Sonoma into public use".

"Although Vallejo held the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Regular Army of Mexico, he served as Comandante-General of California from 1836 to 1844, then retired to manage his vast land holdings".

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Oh, it's the same old story -- gain some political advantages and favors, become appointed to serve the common good, and then enslave the local native population into advancing your own wealth and ego.

Text from an informational sign:   "Governor Figueroa sent Mariano Vallejo into the valley of Sonoma in 1834 with the instructions to colonize the area and lay out a town, as a buffer against the Russians".

[ editor's note:   From 1812 to 1841 the Tsarist government gave a charter to the Russian-American Company, a commercial hunting and trading enterprise which claimed a large area on the coast, naming it Fort Ross.   Twenty-five Russians, along with 80 native Alaskans from Kodiak and the Aleutian Islands lived and worked at Fort Ross, growing food and hunting game to supply early Russian settlements in Alaska. ]

"The church at Sonoma had been established 11 years earlier with freedom to tade with any of the settlers on the coast.   Both Sonoma Mission and the chapel at Fort Ross enjoyed Catholic affiliation and as a result established a common tie".

"With the arrival of Vallejo and his small body of troops, the political climate changed and further trade with the Russians was discouraged. The Mexicans were fearful of further foreign expansion".

"This northernmost mission continued to minister to the needs of the small community under increasing problems of secularization and lack of funds until it was sold into private ownership".

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Side of Mission San Francisco Solano from the courtyard.

Text from an informational sign:   "The Mission Trail marked three hundred years of Spanish-Mexican settlement.   It travelled as far south as Guatemala and taversed Mexico to advance through eleven of our present date United States.   In 1823 Mission San Francisco Solano was founded, marking the last and northernmost outpost on the historic Mission Trail".

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Well, I didn't need an informational sign to tell me that the Mission and other old buildings were constructed of adobe bricks, which is simply nothing more than clay, sand, and water; mixed with straw, sticks, or dung; formed into bricks with a wooden mold; and then baked thoroughly in the hot sun.   Exposed surfaces were often plastered over to protect the adobe bricks from the effects of weathering.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

This well-worn floor is upstairs in the barracks where General Vallejo's troops were quartered.   Now, (illustratively speaking) I've had walls talk to me before, but this is the first time I've had an old floor say a few words...

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1 comment:

Dutchbaby said...

Great shots - especially the one of the talking floor!

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