Although Dolores Park may be the site for those wishing to indulge in human banality, next door to S.F.'s favorite gathering place is the city's oldest building and best example of early and traditional religious architecture. Founded in 1776, Mission Dolores, as it is affectionately called, was the center for Spanish monks during their colonization of the California coast for the Spanish Empire. This religious temple is the oldest intact mission of the remaining 21 others in California. It has adobe walls 4 feet thick, and the original redwood logs supporting the roof still remain in place. Visit the museum next door, which features early relics from the Mission days. The cemetery garden in the back is the resting place of early Hispanic land barons whose names grace some of our favorite neighborhoods, like Bernal Heights and Noe Valley.
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