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The Mission Revival Style was an architectural movement that began in the late 19th century and drew inspiration from the early Spanish missions in California. The movement enjoyed its greatest popularity between 1890 and 1915, though numerous modern residential, commercial, and institutional structures (particularly schools and railroad depots) display this instantly-recognizable architectural style.Weitze, p. 14: "Railroad literature described the missions as 'Worthy a glance from the tourists [[[sic]]] eye,' with the Southern Pacific, from 1888 to 1890, publishing numerous pamphlets that included sections on the missions." The Mission Innmarker in Riverside, Californiamarker is generally considered the largest Mission Revival Style building in the United Statesmarker.

Mission Style Characteristics

All of California's missions shared certain design characteristics, owing both to the limited selection of building materials available to the founding padres and an overall lack of advanced construction experience. Each installation utilized massive walls with broad, unadorned surfaces and limited fenestration, wide, projecting eaves, and low-pitched clay tile roofs. Other features included long, arcaded corridors, piered arches, and curved gables. Exterior walls were coated with plaster (stucco) to shield the adobe bricks beneath from the elements.

Each of these elements are replicated, to varying degrees, in Mission Revival buildings. Modern construction materials and building practices render these characteristics largely cosmetic.

Give me neither Romanesque nor Gothic;
much less Italian Renaissance,
and least of all English Colonial —
this is California — give me Mission.
:Anonymous, 1924

Structures designed in the Mission Revival Style

See also


  2. Jones, p. 2
  3. Jones, p. 42

Further Reading

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