Old Mission
Founded 1804
Capuchin Franciscan
Santa Inés
Solvang, California
Sacred Heart Sisters
Mission Santa Inés

The Earthquake of 1812

Eight years of growth and building were damaged or destroyed in just fifteen minutes at the end of 1812. Fathers Uria and Olbés reported the following: "December 21, 1812, at about 10 o'clock in the morning, two earthquakes occurred at an interval of a quarter of an hour. The first made a considerable aperture in the one corner of the church: the second shock threw down the said corner, and a quarter of the new houses fell down, demolished all the tiles, and opened a main wall. All remain serviceable, however, if no greater tremors occur."

For safety, a temporary church was erected outside the quadrangle area. Reconstruction of the damaged buildings continued over the next few years. A new and larger church was built of adobe and brick and facing east. It measured 140 feet long, 25 feet wide and 30 feet high, with heavily buttressed walls 5 feet thick. Heavy pine timbers brought from the San Rafael Mountains supported its ceiling and re-tiled roof. The ceiling height was lowered on the residence of the friars, and the flat roof was replaced with a gabled roof covered with tiles. A new belfry was constructed at this time. These buildings, which were dedicated on July 4 1817, still remain today.