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Adobe Chapel
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National Parks Under Attack
This Web site doesn't like to take political stands, but now it is necessary.

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Throughout the country, state parks, historic sites, museums, and similar institutions are struggling to continue operating. Because of general financial problems, many of these institutions are operating on a reduced schedule or in danger of closing. Some are being forced to sell off artifacts and property. Many will not weather these hard times without your help.

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San Diego County Main Page

Adobe Chapel

All photographs taken by Kenneth A. Larson. All rights reserved. © 2016 - 2017.

The Adobe Chapel is not large or grand, but was once an important institution in early San Diego. It was originally built in 1850 as a home for John Brown and is reported to have had the first wooden floors in Old Town. From 1842 when the Presidio Chapel was abandoned and 1846 when the Mission closed, until 1858, the Pueblo of San Diego had no parish church. Services were held in temporary chapels. Road Trip when this place was visited.
Road Trip Article 2005
Road Trip Article 2016
Done José Aguirre converted the adobe to a chapel which was dedicated on November 22, 1858 to the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin. The chapel was the first parochial church in the first parish in California after secularization of the Missions. Father Molinier served until 1863, Father Antonio D. Ubach served as parish priest from 1866 to 1907. The building has also been a school and town meeting hall. The chapel is believed to be the location of the fictional character Ramona's wedding from the novel Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson, Father Gaspara from the novel was based on Father Ubach. Wood siding was added in the 1870s. After the new church was built, the building was used for a time as a Catholic kindergarten until 1922 when it was abandoned. The Catholic church transferred ownership of the building to the City of San Diego in1936. The original building was demolished in the late 1930s as part of a street realignment project, but the original materials were saved. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) rebuilt the building in 1937 using the material from the original building. Many interior furnishings are original including the tabernacle, altar, parts of the confessional, pews, windows and doors. Done José Aguirre's tombstone is laid on the floor. The rebuilt chapel was dedicated 1937 and used by the Columban Fathers from 1938 to 1970. Restoration continues.

The chapel became California Historic Landmark Number 49.

3963 Conde Street
San Diego, California 92110
(Learn more at www.SOHOsandiego.org).

Hours are not regular. Check the SOHO web site listed above. Tours can be requested at the Whaley House Museum Gift Shop a block away.
Old Adobe Chapel
From northeast. Photo date: 6-13-04.
Old Adobe Chapel
From northwest. Photo date: 6-13-04.

From northwest. Photo date: 5-8-05.

From northeast. Photo date: 5-21-16.
This plaque is placed to commemorate the adobe.
West facade, right of front.
East facade, left of the front.

The south, or back, side.

Front door.

Looking in from the entry.


Small side room.


Crypt of Done José Aguirre's tombstone.

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San Diego County Main Page

This page last updated: Sunday, 12-Mar-2017 22:11:22 EDT

Note:This is not the official site for any of the places shown in Places Earth. Places Earth is not responsible for accuracy of the information. Hours of operations, prices, exhibits, and sometimes locations are subject to change without notice.

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