Founded: October 9, 1791
Founder: Father Fermin Lasuen
Indian tribes native to surrounding area: Ohlone, Costanoan, Esselen, Miwok, Yokuts
The name of the mission – Our Lady of Solitude – came about due to a misunderstanding. The Spanish missionaries encountered a party of Indians and asked their name. The Indians responded with a word that the Spanish heard as Soledad, or solitude, and this determined the name of the mission.
The location was indeed isolated. During its existence, the mission went through 30 Friars, most of whom requested transfer after a year or less.
The mission was also plagued by repeated flooding from the nearby Salinas River, and a smallpox epidemic killed Indians by the hundreds.
Visiting the Mission
Today visitors can see archeological excavations, the remains of a few mission buildings, and a small museum.
There is also a reconstructed adobe church, completed in 1955.