Although the Chumash Indians were really the founders of this community, the place most historians begin with is when the Santa Inés Mission was founded.
The Santa Inés Mission
On September 17, 1804, the Santa Inés Mission was founded by Friar Estevan Tapis. The patriarch of the California Missions, Father Serra, had died twenty years earlier. The spot chosen for the new mission was the site of the village called Alajulapu, and it overlooked the beautiful Santa Inés River. Santa Inés was the last of the southern missions, the third to honor a sainted woman, the nineteenth out of the twenty-one missions, and it completed the chain of missions between San Francisco and San Diego. Alajulapu boasted fertile fields for crops and grazing animals, and the Indians who lived at the mission raised wheat, barley corn, beans, and other crops. They also dressed the hides of animals, extracted tallow for candies, and wove cloth. Before this work began, however, the lndians had to be taught how to built the mission. Beams were brought from the San Rafael Mountains, pine logs were prepared and tiles were made. Even today, some buildings are styled on the Mission's classic architecture.
In the beginning, Jose Calzada and Jose Romualdo Gutierrez were in charge of the Mission. It was designed by Father Javier de Uria. Up until the horrible earthquake of 1812, construction was an ongoing process. But after the quake, building practically had to be started over again. The chapel was destroyed, and all the buildings were damaged, either in pieces or completely beyond repair. The Mission was rebuilt, and the new church was dedicated on July 4, 1817. One-fourth of the original structure remains standing today, with eleven of the original 22 arches. In 1810, the Mexican military forces in California became dependent on the missions, the result of a political problem in Mexico which cut off support to the missions. The Indians were forced to supply the soldiers, causing an unhappy labor arrangement which led to Indian revolt in 1824. In 1836, the Mission had overcome its problems and was clearly a prosperous place. Its inventory consisted of 8,040 cattle, 1,923 sheep, 343 horses, 987 fruit tress, and 45 mules. In 1904, Father Alexander Buckler and his niece, Mamie Goulet, began a twenty year reconstruction of the mission, and the result was the beautiful building that graces Solvang's skyline today.
History By Leah Etling