Established: October 9, 1791
By: Father Fermin Lasuen
Order: 13th of the 21 missions
Location: 40 miles South East of Monterey
Named For: Mary, mother of Jesus
Interesting Fact: Construction was slow due to repeated floods.
Mission Nuestra Senora de la Soledad was the 13th mission.. Nuestra Senora de la Soledad was established on October 9, 1791, by Father Fermin Lasuen. It is located in the Salinas River valley, which is about 400 miles southeast of Monterey. When the Spanish got there it looked like a lonely desert, but they soon turned it into a fertile valley with flowers and other plants. They named it Nuestra Senora de la Soledad after Our Lady of Solitude, Mary, the mother of Jesus.
One thing that makes this mission different from the others is that is has more ruins than any other mission. Where the original church was, the bricks are dry and cracked in ruins. In 1824, a flood destroyed the large church, and it was never rebuilt. In 1835, they sold the roof tiles, and the walls started to crack and crumble into dust. The wind came and blew the dust away. In 1954, people started to restore the mission, including some of the padres' rooms.
Much of Mission Soledad lay in ruins for many years, crumbling in the wind and the rain, but was fixed and is the most beautiful mission today! All the buildings are white, with red tile roofs, and the courtyard is filled with flowers, and a smaller chapel, 20 feet by 60 feet was built instead of the large church. There is only one bell, next to the small chapel, that was made in Mexico in the 1790's. Some of the original paintings still decorate the small chapel. If you visit the mission today, you can see the rebuilt chapel, but you can also see the ruins of the church and many of the walls.