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

A New Era: 1851 to the 1904

In 1851 the United States government rescinded the illegal sale of the Mission lands by Pio Pico. Several priest from different religious orders and diocesan priest administered the college seminary. At the Mission, Father Eugene O'Connell made improvements of the Mission buildings including laying the first asphalt floors.

A decree signed by President Abraham Lincoln on May 24, 1862 formally returned the Missions to the Catholic Church with possession given to the Bishop of Monterey.

This photo of ruins at Mission Santa Inés
may date from as early as 1865.

Supervision of the college seminary was transferred to the Christian Brothers from 1877-1881. The institution was closed and the Bishop sold off 20,000 acres. Some of the area became the town of Santa Ynez.

The Donohue family who resided in Gilroy, CA was invited by Fr. Michael Lynch to live and work at the Mission in 1884. Fr. Lynch resided at the college but was directed to move into the Mission with Frs. Farrelly and Lack, and supervise repairs. Mr. Donohue a carpenter, stone mason and blacksmith is credited with making the first improvements to the Mission buildings since the end of the Mission Era. Often financing the repairs, Mr. Donohue and his 4 sons improved the walls and floors, and built a large sala or living room for the priests. In 1898, the Donohue family moved from the Mission to their ranch located about ¼ mile from the Mission.