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Mission Dolores, also known as Mission San Francisco de Asis (founder of the Franciscan Oder), was named after the creek nearby called Arroyo de Nuestra Se?ora de los Dolores, meaning "Our Lady of Sorrows Creek? which was named as such because it was discovered on a ?Friday of Sorrows? by Friar Font, a member of the de Anza Expedition, led by Juan Bautista de Anza. The expedition was part of Kingdom of Spain?s colonization efforts in California. To be able to colonize the entire state, the Spanish Catholics of the Franciscan Order sent missionaries to establish religious and military settlements in different localities which they called ?mission? and named each of them. The Mission Dolores was the sixth mission established and is the oldest surviving structure in the city of San Francisco.

Mission Dolores played a very important role in the religious, civic, and cultural life of San Francisco. When the Mission was being established, only temporary church structure (now called old mission) was built made only of log and thatch (a roof crafted out of dry vegetation such as straw, water reed, sedge, rushes and heather, layering the vegetation so as to shed water away from the inner roof). A new Mission was constructed in 1791 replacing the old mission that was destroyed during the San Francisco earthquake and is made noticeable through a historical marker. It was a complex composed of quadrangle, ?convento?, buildings made of adobe and church with a mural painted on the front exterior by the natives. The new mission is a complex utilized for housing, agricultural and manufacturing activities. Though the quadrangle and convento had been modified or demolished, the fa?ade of the Mission chapel has remained relatively untouched.

The Mission had its turn of decline that by 1842, only eight Christian Indians were living at the Mission. More than 5000 Indians were buried to the cemetery adjacent to the mission and aside from the founders of the mission, most of them died from scarcity and diseases. Nevertheless, the California Gold Rush brought about changes to the Mission Dolores community. During the 1850s, two timber roads were assembled from what has become downtown San Francisco leading to the Mission. This made it easy for the area to become a popular resort and entertainment destination. Saloons and gambling halls were put up on the properties sold or leased by the Mission, racetracks were constructed, and fights between bulls and bears were staged for crowds. A portion of the convento was transformed to a two-story wooden wing for use as a seminary and priests? quarters, while on another section, the ?Mansion House? was established and became a popular accommodation for travelers. However, by 1876, the Mansion House had been demolished and replaced with a large brick church, designed of Gothic Revival, to respond to the dwelling need of the growing population of immigrants who were now making the Mission area their home.

From 1913 to 1918, a new church was built next to the Mission. This is now known as the Mission Dolores Basilica which was elevated to the status of a Minor Basilica in 1952 by Pope Pius XII. The original adobe church retains the name Mission Dolores.

Mission Dolores is still an active church where many people still attend service in as well as in the Mission Dolores Basilica. The Mission is open to visitors who want to learn more about the history of the place, the city of San Francisco and its early people.
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