363 3rd Street West
Sonoma, California 95476
The Sonoma Mission, formally known as Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma, is within the Sonoma State Historic Park located in the heart of downtown Sonoma. This was the final of 21 missions established in "Alta" California which is the current-day California in the U.S. bounds. Another mission in Santa Rosa was never built as secularization occurred (Mexico became independent from Spain) and the missions were removed from Spanish control.
Founded by Father Jose Altimira in 1823, it was the final and northernmost mission, which was built by Mexicans and placed under the control of General Mariano Vallejo. Missions previous to this final establishment were built by Spaniards. It is believed that he ignored orders to distribute the mission property but instead, kept the land for himself. One of his many duties was to monitor the Russian activity nearby on the coast at Fort Ross.
The mission fell into disrepair and by 1839, was unoccupied and in ruins 16 short years after being built. The mission property passed through various hands and owners and eventually was purchased by a historical preservation group around 1903. The State of California obtained the property in 1906 and began archaeological efforts, in concert with renovation and rebuilding. Today California State Parks manages, maintains and operates the property in downtown Sonoma as part of the Sonoma State Historic Park.
Sonoma Mission contains a large central plaza and is one of six structures within Sonoma State Historic Park. Others include Blue Wing Inn, the Sonoma Barracks, the Toscano Hotel, La Casa Grande and Lachryma Montis, the homes of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, Military Commander and Director of Colonization of the Northern Frontier.
There is a small museum in the mission you can visit, and you are free to wander the modest grounds.