Mission San Luis Rey de Francia – JAN 2014

King of the Missions
Located in the city of Oceanside, it was the 18th California Missions built and was placed between the existing San Diego and San Juan Capistrano Missions.
Named after a former King of France, St. Louis IX, it was founded in 1798.
With a layout extending over six acres, it was the largest of the 21 CA Missions. It had a long corridor with 32 Roman arches in the front patio and was the only one adorned with a wooden dome and cupola.
The current church, third on this location, was built in 1811.
In 1825, the mission population reached nearly 3,000, the largest of any other mission. 
When Mexico gained its independence from Spain, the Decree of Secularization (1834) removed the Franciscans from ownership of the Mission and transferred it to private landowners.
When the United states acquired the land from Mexico, it was used as a military installation.
In 1962, President Abraham Lincoln signed a proclamation restoring ownership of the Mission to the Roman Catholic Church.
The three-story domed bell tower holds four bells.
The Mission still serves as an active parish.
This Mission is a National Historic Landmark, California Historic Landmark #239, and San Diego County Historical Landmark #112.
The Luiseno was the prominent Indian tribe of this area.
The cemetery has been in continuous use since 1798, making it the oldest burial ground in North San Diego County still in operation.
The skull and crossbones over the cemetery gate was added by Walt Disney when he used the Mission for filming several episodes of the Zorro TV series.
The third episode, "Zorro Rides to the Mission," even used interior shots in the Chapel.