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Mission Revival Style architecture 1890-1920

Spanish Mission -- Spanish Colonial -- Spanish Colonial Revival -- Mission Revival Style -- Pueblo style
1428 23rd Street, Galveaton, Texas. A view looking down an exterior corredor at Mission San Fernando Rey de España, a common architectural feature of the Spanish Missions that is often emulated in Mission Revival Style architecture. The Southern Pacific Railroad depot in Burlingame, California. The roof used 18th-century tiles from the Mission San Antonio de Padua and the San Pedro y San Pablo Asistencia. The facility is still in use.
One of the earliest examples of Mission Revival Style architecture, the Santa Fe Railway depot in San Juan Capistrano was considered to be one of the railroad's finest when it was completed on October 8, 1894. The former depot in San Juan Capistrano as it appeared in 2005. The plaster finish has been removed (exposing the brickwork beneath) at all but the dome of the original structure. Mission Inn, 1902, Riverside, California
Union Station in San Diego, California, completed in 1915    
Mission Revival Style architecture

The Mission Revival Style was an architectural movement that began in the late 19th century and drew inspiration from the early Spanish missions in California. The movement enjoyed its greatest popularity between 1890 and 1915, though numerous modern residential, commercial, and institutional structures (particularly schools and railroad depots) display this instantly-recognizable architectural style.

All of California's missions shared certain design characteristics, owing both to the limited selection of building materials available to the founding padres and an overall lack of advanced construction experience. Each installation utilized massive walls with broad, unadorned surfaces and limited fenestration, wide, projecting eaves, and low-pitched clay tile roofs. Other features included long, arcaded corridors, piered arches, and curved gables. Exterior walls were coated with plaster (stucco) to shield the adobe bricks beneath from the elements.

Each of these elements are replicated, to varying degrees, in Mission Revival buildings. Modern construction materials and building practices render these characteristics largely cosmetic, however.

Plymouth Rock was a state of mind.
So were the California Missions.
Charles Fletcher Lummis
The Spanish Pioneers, 1929
Give me neither Romanesque nor Gothic;
much less Italian Renaissance,
and least of all English Colonial —
this is California — give me Mission.

Structures designed in the Mission Revival Style
Southern Pacific Railroad depot in Burlingame, California, completed in 1894
Santa Fe Railway Depot in San Juan Capistrano, California, completed in 1894
Castañeda Hotel in Las Vegas, New Mexico, completed in 1898
Alvarado Hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico, completed in 1902 (demolished in 1970)
Mission Inn in Riverside, California, completed in 1932 [3]
California Baptist University in Riverside, California, the original school buildings built for Neighbors of Woodcraft, completed in the early 1920s

Union Station in San Diego, California, completed in 1915

San Gabriel Mission Playhouse in San Gabriel, California, completed in 1927
Villa Rockledge in Laguna Beach, California, completed in 1935 [4]
Canoga Mission Gallery in Canoga Park, California, completed in 1936

San Diego's Union Station was built by the Santa Fe Railway in 1915 in preparation for the Panama-California Exposition. The depot is still in use.

^ Weitze, p. 14: "Railroad literature described the missions as 'Worthy a glance from the tourists [sic] eye,' with the Southern Pacific, from 1888 to 1890, publishing numerous pamphlets that included sections on the missions."
^ Rey, Felix (1924), "A Tribute to Mission Style", Architect and Engineer
^ Jones, p. 2
^ Jones, p. 42


The San Gabriel Mission Playhouse, a classic example of the style, was built between 1921 and 1927 as the "Mission Playhouse" under the guidance of poet, Los Angeles Times columnist, and author John Steven McGroarty specifically as a venue for his production of The Mission Play which chronicled the history of California, and under the benefaction of a syndicate of The Mission Playhouse Corporation and The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. The structure, modeled after the Mission San Antonio de Padua in Monterey County, was originally designed by architect Arthur Benton after sketches by McGroarty but completed by architect William J. Dodd who took over and redesigned the auditorium in 1926 to the newest engineering specifications when Benton became terminally ill. Dodd completed the auditorium in time for the opening of the "Mission Play" season on March 5, 1927.
Gustafson, Lee and Phil Serpico (1999). Santa Fe Coast Lines Depots: Los Angeles Division. Acanthus Press, Palmdale, CA. ISBN 0-88418-003-4.
Jones, R. (1991). The History of Villa Rockledge. American National Research Institute, Laguna Beach, CA.
Weitze, Karen J. (1984). California's Mission Revival. Hennessy & Ingalls, Inc., Los Angeles, CA. ISBN 0-912158-89-1.
Yenne, Bill (2004). The Missions of California. Thunder Bay Press, San Diego, CA. ISBN 1-59223-319-8.

This style was derived from the Spanish missions in California and other areas in the Southwest. Some even include bell towers, elaborate arches, and other deatils inspired by these early churches. The large shaded porches are ideal for hot climates. They are usually built with adobe or stucco covered brick.

Mission houses usually have many of these features:
Adobe or stucco walls
Large square pillars
Large covered porches
Roof parapets
Red "Spanish" roof tiles
Round windows
Curved gables

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