Mission Road

Because of unfavorable conditions, it was nearly a decade after Father Dumetz held his first services at a Capilla, near what is now Barton Road, and named the site "San Bernardino"1 that the first structure on the rancho was erected. It was of adobe, and was used as a storehouse for foodstuffs. It was located a mile and a half west of the Asistencia, on the north side of what is now Mission Road. It also contained living quarters for the mayordomo or manager, and accommodations for visiting fathers. An emrada, or structure of boughs, served as a chapel. Thus "Mission Road" is one of the first streets named in the San Bernardino Valley.

Image of the Asistencia, 1950
Asistencia, 1950

About 1829, work was begun on the Asistencia, under the direction of a builder from Mexico. Fourteen rooms were more or less completed. According to Beattie*, an Asistencia was a mission in every respect save that of having a resident priest. The Asistencia was in use from 1830-34, when a decree of Governor Figueroa ended mission activities throughout the state. The Governor, acting on orders from Mexico, decreed that Mission properties belonged to the State, and could no longer be used to teach the Native Americans. The Fathers destroyed most of what they had built up, to keep the government from appropriating it.

In 1842, the property was granted by the Mexican governor to Antonio Maria Lugo and his three sons, together with Diego Sepulveda. Its worth was assessed at $300 by heads of two neighboring Ranchos, Yorba and Williams, but Lugo paid $800 for it in hides and tallow.

In 1851, the rancho was sold to the Mormons, and Bishop Nathan C. Tenney lived in the Asistencia for many years. His wife maintained a school in one of the rooms.

From 1860-67, the Asistencia was occupied by Dr. Benjamin Barton and his family. He moved to a brick mansion he built behind the Asistencia in 1867 - and it is still standing to the north.

Asistencia, 1895
Asistencia, 1895

In 1925, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors bought the land on which the deteriorated Asistencia stood, and the restoration of the building was started through private contributions. In 1935, work passed from private hands, and during 1936-37, was carried on under a federal government act. It has been open to the public since October 10, 1937. It is now under the jurisdiction of the San Bernardino County Museum.

1 Flyer on San Bernardino Asistencia, San Bernardino County Museum

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