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The craftsman
Vol. V, No. 4 (January 1904)

[Title Page],   p. 321 PDF (337.7 KB)

James, George Wharton
The Franciscan mission builders of California,   pp. 321-335 PDF (4.7 MB)

Page 321

  Vol. V
   The article now offered upon the Missions
of California, is one of a series to be written
for The Craftsman by Mr. George Wharton
James. This writer purposed at first to
confine himself to the subject of the present
article, but in consequence of the rapid rise
of his enthusiasm, he decided to extend his
limits to include the Missions of Arizona,
New Mexico and Texas. For nearly twenty
years, Mr. James has been a student of these
localities, but during the publication of his
papers, he will revisit them in order that no
detail of general or specific importance be
omitted from his work.
   The second article, to appear in the Feb-
ruary issue of the magazine, will, of neces-
sity, attract a wide circle of readers, both
lay and professional, since it will treat:
   "The Influence of the Mission Style upon
the Modern Civic and Domestic Architecture
of California."
ANY and diverse are the elements
          which have gone into the making
          of that "State of the Golden
          Gate" of which Americans gen-
erally are so proud. It has been the stage
upon which strangely different actors have
played their part-important or insignifi-
cant-and left their impress where they
played. It has been a composite canvas
upon which painters of every school have
No. 4
practised their art: a vivid mass of color
here, a touch there, a single stroke of the
brush yonder. Then, too, look at it as you
will, stage or canvas, it had a marvellous
natural setting.   Curtains, side-wings,
drops, scenes, accessories, suitable for every
play, adequate   for every  requirement.
Tragedy? Great mountains, awful snow
storms,  trackless sand-wastes,  fearful
deserts, limitless canyons, more ocean line
than any other of the North American
States, and the densest forests. Comedy?
Semi-tropical verdure, orange blossoms,
carpets of flowers, delicate waterfalls, the
singing of a thousand varieties of birds,
the gentlest zephyrs, the bluest of blue
skies. What wonder, then, as its history is
studied, as a whole or in parts, that it is
unusually fascinating, and that it presents
features of unique interest?
  The country itself and its aboriginal pop-
ulation were long a source of attraction to
the Spanish conquerors of the New World.
Cabrillo and Viscaino had sailed up its
coast; Alarcon up its gulf and strange
Eastern river, now known as the Colorado,
and, just about the time the birth agony of
a new country was beginning on the West-
ern shores of the Atlantic, events were shap-
ing on the Eastern shores of the Pacific
which were materially to affect the ultimate
destiny of the as yet unborn nation. It is
well to remember these two simultaneous
spheres of activity: each working unknown
to the other, and separated by a vast conti-
nent which was eventually to be one undi-
vided country: great battlefields, pregnant

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