Page last updated: July 5, 2022

All glass plate photographs by Harold A. Taylor. Digital images copyright © 2022 by Pinyon Publishing. No reproduction without permission.

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Historic Glass Plate Photography

        by Harold A. Taylor

Harold A. Taylor Home

Missions Home     North to South:     Dolores     Santa Cruz     San Juan Bautista     Monterey     Carmel

San Antonio de Padua     San Miguel     San Luis Obispo     Santa Ines     Santa Barbara-Glass     SB-Celluloid

San Buenaventura     San Fernando Rey de Espana     San Gabriel Arcangel     San Juan Capistrano

California Missions

~ Artistically documented architecture in various states of restoration ~

Early 20th century glass plate (plus a few celluloid) photographs of 13 of the 21 California Missions founded in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

North to South (Number of glass plate photographs):


Dolores San Francisco (1)

Single photograph of the front of the mission which was originally founded as San Francisco de Asis in 1776. Long known as Dolores, named for the arroyo that fed a nearby lake.



Santa Cruz (1)

Single photograph of an illustrated postcard representation of this mission which, founded in 1791, suffered collapse of the church tower in an 1857 earthquake, and was rebuilt in 1889.



San Juan Bautista (3)

Three views of this mission founded in 1797.




Monterey Royal Chapel (3)

Built in 1770 as the cornerstone of the mission that was later moved to Carmel. The oldest continuously functioning and first stone building in California.




Carmel (10)

The “most beautiful mission,” founded in 1770 at the presidio of Monterey then moved to the Carmel Valley the following year.



San Antonio de Padua (2 glass + 3 celluloid)

Repeat images in glass and celluloid of this mission founded in 1771, dedicated to the patron saint of the poor.



San Miguel (6)

Though some parts of this 1797 mission were destroyed in a fire and rebuilt, the original 12-arch arcade seen in these images survives.




San Luis Obispo (1)

Founded in 1772. Single image of a doorway.




Santa Ines (4)

Sun-spattered images of this mission founded in 1804 on fertile inland soils.




Santa Barbara Glass (22)

Glass and celluloid images from this “Queen of the Missions” founded in 1786.





Santa Barbara Celluloid (24)





San Buenaventura (Ventura) (5)

Doorways into this mission founded in 1782.




San Fernando Rey de Espana (4)

A taste of this 1797 mission built against the backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains.




San Gabriel Arcangel (14)

Palms, stairways, and bells of this 1771 mission, 9 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.




San Juan Capistrano (60)

Founded in 1776, one of the most prosperous missions in its time. Before modern restoration, HT’s photographs capture arches and columns crumbling amongst vegetation.

San Luis Obispo
Santa Cruz
San Juan Bautista
Monterey Royal Chapel
San Antonio de Padua
San Miguel
San Luis Obispo
Santa Ines
Santa Barbara Glass
Santa Barbara Celluloid
San Fernando

[History of the California Missions]

San Gabriel
San Juan Capistrano
San Buenaventura