California Mission Gifts, Keepsakes & Collectibles
MissionGiftShop.com has developed authentic collectibles, made with painstaking detail,that reflect the history and old world craftsmanship of the California Missions including a set of collectible mission bells accurately based on vintage products from the early 1900s. Our painstaking attention to detail and unrelenting pursuit for authenticity has resulted in, what we believe are, the finest reproductions ever produced.
We also offer an array of custom products made with original artwork for each of the 21 California Missions. Products include Slate Trivets, Sandstone Coasters, Ceramic Magnets, Ceramic Tiles, Books, Religious Articles, Jewelry, Postcards, Note Cards, Canvas Prints and much more.
EL CAMINO REAL BELL
The History of El Camino Real and Its Bells
At the same time that the American colonies were rebelling against England, a handful of Spaniards and Mexicans established outposts up the California coast. The first was established in 1769 at San Diego, when they established a fortress and a Franciscan mission. A footpath, called El Camino Real, or The Kings Highway, was created to connect the outposts.
Each outpost, called a Mission, was situated in areas where large populations of Indians lived and where the soil was fertile enough to sustain a settlement. As time passed and more Missions were built, the footpath became a roadway wide enough to accommodate horses and wagons. It was not, however, until the last Mission in Sonoma was completed in 1823, that this little pathway became a real route. From that point, a series of small self-reliant religious missions were established. Each was a day's travel apart and linked by El Camino Real. Overall, El Camino Real linked 21 missions, pueblos and four presidios from San Diego to Sonoma.
In 1904 the El Camino Real Association was formed to reestablish the road and select a marker design. The first Guidepost Bell – designed by Mrs. A.S.C. Forbes – was installed in 1906 at Iglesia de Nuestra Senora Reina de Los Angeles (Old Plaza Church) in downtown Los Angeles. By 1915, 158 guidepost bells had been placed along the El Camino Real.
Today, after extensive research and design, MissionGiftShop.com has crafted a series of collectible brass bells reminiscent of that bygone era. The bells are produced in great detail with a beautiful tone and the precise craftsmanship demanded by such an important piece of California history.