California Historical Landmark #42
On Tuesday, August 11, the Asistencia will close at noon.
26930 Barton Road, Redlands, CA 92373
We suggest contacting the main museum at 909.307.2669 to make sure this site is
open on the day you would like to visit, as we may experience temporary closures
due to high wind or other factors during the year.
Hours and Admission Fees:
Tuesday through Saturday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Group tours by appointment.
Admission fees are: $5 adult, $4 senior/military, $2.50 student/child, under 5 free.
Reproduction of the original Estsancia ranch outpost of the Mission San
Mission Era (1819 - 1834)
in 1819 as a part of the Mission San Gabriel's Rancho San Bernardino, the original
Asistencia or more correctly - Estancia functioned as an outpost
for cattle grazing activities. The Asistencia buildings we can visit today
are reproductions built in the 1930s and located approximately one mile east of
the original Estancia site.
It is believed that in 1820 Native Americans began to dig a zanja (irrigation
ditch) to serve the area, planned by Pedro Alvarez. At the same time, Carlos Garcia,
the Spanish majordomo (overseer) of the Rancho, directed construction of an enramada
(bower or arbor) for worship, an adobe administration building with storerooms,
and a personal residence. Majordomo Juan Alvarado (1826 - 1834) relocated
the Estancia to its present site in 1830, where he constructed a new 14
room complex of adobe and timber. By 1834 the facility was abandoned by the Mission,
and the Mexican Decree of Secularization ended mission control in California.
Lugo Era (1842 - 1851)
Brothers Jose del Carmen Lugo, Jose Maria Lugo and Vincente Lugo, along with their
cousin Diego Sepulveda, were granted title to the San Bernardino Rancho by the Mexican
Governor of California in 1842. Included in the property's inventory were the abandoned
Estancia, a grist mill, a tile kiln, and a lime kiln. Jose del Carmen Lugo
repaired the rancho structures and resided at the Estancia until 1851.
Mormon Era (1851 - 1857)
Mormons purchased the Rancho San Bernardino from the Lugos in 1851 and established
the city and, later, the county of San Bernardino. Bishop Nathan C. Tenney was assigned
to oversee agricultural operations and moved into the Estancia with his
wife. Mrs. Tenney became a teacher in a newly organized school located in one room
of the complex. The Estancia also served as a polling place for the newly
organized county. The area became known as the Mission District, or Old San Bernardino.
In 1854, Lewis and Henry Cram established a furniture factory near the Estancia
using water from the zanja to power their machinery. For two years they manufactured
chairs with cowhide seats, tables, cupboards and bedposts from timber that grew
along the zanja and in the foothills.
Barton Era (1857 - 1925)
Dr. Benjamin Barton purchased the Estancia and surrounding lands from the
Mormons in about 1859. It is believed that he resided and practiced medicine in
the adobe buildings until the completion of his own home, still standing adjacent
to the Estancia, in 1867. Materials from the Estancia were removed
for use elsewhere, and the adobe buildings gradually deteriorated.
Asistencia Era (1925 - present)
In 1925 the Estancia was only a ruin when the County of San Bernardino,
assisted by the San Bernardino County Historical Society, acquired it from the Barton
family. The remaining historic materials were removed, and construction of a new
six room structure began in 1926 under the direction of Horace P. Hinckley. Construction
was completed in 1937 as a combined state (State Emergency Relief Administration,
or SERA) and federal (Works Progress Administration, or WPA) relief project.
As had been the case in many early restoration and reconstruction projects, artistic
liberties were taken in the design of the new Estancia. The bell tower,
a historicized element patterned after the Pala Asistencia, was introduced. Modifications
were made to the floor plan to provide exhibit space and a residence for a site
manager. This facility opened to the public in 1937 as the "Asistencia."
In 1960, it was dedicated as California Historical Landmark #42 as an outstanding
example of handcrafted structures of the WPA era. Since that time, under the administration
of the San Bernardino County Museums, the "Asistencia" has undergone retrofitting
for seismic stability.
A visit to the Asistencia will allow you the chance to visit its museum, walk through
historic rooms, and relax in the gardens. To learn more about the Asistencia, we
suggest Dr. Bruce Harley's "Did Mission
San Gabriel Have Two Asistencias? The Case of Rancho San Bernardino,"
SBCMA Quarterly 36(4), 1989.
The Asistencia's chapel and the
landscaped courtyard have been favorite sites for weddings since the 1930s. The
facility is available for rental for weddings and
receptions by contacting Eric Prien at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (909) 307-2669.
The Asistencia is a regular stop for tour groups and school groups, and is considered
a "must see" destination for visitors to the Redlands area.