Mission San Luis Rey
First panel:Walled Garden
The Mission grew a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains in a number of vast gardens for the use of their community. This garden, located west of the Mission, was walled with adobe bricks to protect it from grazing cattle, and possibly to provide a warmer microclimate for its crops. Grapes, an especially important fruit crop made into acclaimed sacramental wines and bradies, may have been grown here.
The garden wall extended along what is now the west side of Douglas Drive, down Pala Road, along Peyri Road and back up to Douglas. Originally about seven feet high, the walled garden had an entry gate on what is now Peyri Road. Other gates may have been located around the garden's perimeter, but have not yet been identified.
Second panel:Cistern and Well
Water for this garden was provided by buried fired clay pipes which fed into the fired adobe cistern. The pipes, in turn, tied into an intricate aqueduct system to maintain the water supply for irrigation, as well as drinking water for the community. The cistern was created by stacking fired clay tiles into an excavated pit with a tile floored bottom. The nearby well also provided water for workers in the garden.
Third panel:Mission San Luis Rey
Long before the arrival of the Franciscan padres in 1798, the area was home to Native Americans who settled along the San Luis Rey River. The Mission San Luis Rey was built to convert these people, whom the Church termed "Luiseno," to Catholicism.
The Mission San Luis Rey was one of the most properous of all the missions in Alta California. Over a period of about 37 years, using largely Luiseno labor, the fathers established an impressive religious compound including a chapel, living quarters, work shops, gardens and fields. Those Luiseno not accommodated within the Mission proper lived in a racheria, located 200 yards north of the Mission.
In 1835, the Mexican government took control of the Mission and its lands. By 1850, the area fell under American domination. President Abraham Lincoln later returned ownership of the missions to the Church, but did not convey much of the surrounding lands formerly associated with them.