Mission Dolores


Mission Dolores was founded on 10/09/1776 and its small adobe chapel was dedicated in 1791. The chapel still stands, now by far the oldest building in San Francisco. G.W. Fardon's photo above (ca. 1856) shows the adjacent cemetery, the chapel, and a one-story building just north of the chapel. The fenced cemetery protrudes east from the entrance, into what would now be the sidewalk on Dolores, and a slight incline leads up to the entrance. The wooden balcony above the entry does not appear in later images. This image appears on a white-border RPPC with the caption "about 1833", obviously incorrect.

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Left: Mitchell 53, b+w private mailing card dated 5/09/1902. A single low step leads to the door and the ramshackle single-story structure to the north in Fardon's photo is now a orderly two-story building. Next: Mitchell 28, private mailing card postmarked SF 6/10/1902, the same image in color. The right edge shows an awkwardly truncated sliver of the large brick Gothic Revival church (built ca. 1876) directly to the north. Next: Unknown publisher, postmarked 12/22/1906, again the same view, but with an added streetlight and different treatment of the church at top right. Right: Detroit 5655 (private mailing card, cancelled 4/23/1903 but not addressed/mailed) gives a clear view of the protruding fenced cemetery.


Detroit 8583 (undated, © 1904) shows the chapel after grading of Dolores: a sidewalk runs past the front next to a low retaining wall and low fence, the cemetery no longer protrudes, five steps lead up to the door, and the building north of the chapel is gone, replaced by a two-story building behind (west of) the chapel.

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Left: Goeggel & Weidner 51, b+w, credit front, not embossed, undivided back. Next: Goeggel & Weidner 82, b+w, credit front, embossed, undivided back; writing on back is part of longer multi-card message, not addressed/mailed as a postcard. Goeggel & Weidner's b+w embossed cards are particularly striking, but sadly a scan does not capture the tactile character of the embossing. To allow writing on the card, the back of the card is a separate sheet glued onto the embossed front. Next: Weidner 114, color, credit on back, post-quake caption added, divided back. Right: Britton & Rey 430, dated 11/10/1905, shows the adjacent brick church; a variant Britton & Rey 430 displays a different image.

Weidner Catalog shows six Weidner 114 variants:

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These b+w cards all use the same post-grading image. Left: Puzzle, undated, © 1905. Center: Souvenir Post Card 4630, post-quake caption. The chapel did indeed survive, as the caption notes, but the adjacent brick church did not; very severely damaged by the earthquake, it was demolished and replaced by the large Basilica built 1913-1918. Right: Cardinell-Vincent S.F. 600.

Steve's SF postcard pages: