San José


Founded: June 11, 1797

Founder: Father Fermin Lasuen

Status: Active Catholic Church

Indian tribes native to surrounding area: Ohlone, Costanoan, Miwok, Yokuts, Patwin, Wappo, Nisenan

Location: 43300 Mission Boulevard, Fremont, CA 94539

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Mission San Jose

Mission San José established the settlement that became the modern city of Fremont. It was the first of a group of five approved as part of a major expansion of the Alta California mission system.

The expansion was intended to reduce the distance between missions, and the need for military escorts when travelling between the missions. The rich lands around the mission were very productive, and it helped to supply livestock, fruit, grain, and olive oil to the surrounding missions.

The mission was, however, troubled by unrest between the Indians and the missionaries. A large-scale Indian uprising in 1828 required over a year, and several military expeditions from the Presidio at San Francisco, to quell.

Plans for a bell tower at the mission were scrapped due to fear of earthquakes. In fact, the mission church and most of the other buildings were destroyed by a major earthquake in 1868.

The current church reconstruction was built in 1982.

Key Events

1797 – Mission founded.

1806 – A smallpox epidemic kills over 150 neophytes.

1828 – Indian uprising.

1834 – Mission secularized.

1858 – Mission returned to the Catholic Church.

1868 – Earthquake destroyed adobe church and many nearby buildings.

Visiting the Mission

Little remains of the original mission. There are a few portions of original walls, the reconstructed church, and small museum (the padres’ wing of the original mission). The unusually short bell tower (which is also a reconstruction)  houses four original bells.

The Olive Hyde Art Guild, across the street from the mission, features special exhibits and the work of local artists.

The mission has a very informative, locally-maintained website at

Mission San José de Guadalupe?

Mission San José is sometimes erroneously called San José de Guadalupe.  This dates back to a sign that was placed n the roof of the Museum in the early 1900’s.  However, the sign was incorrect; the name of the mission was never San José de Guadalupe.



Mission church. Photo by King of Hearts.
Mission church. Photo by King of Hearts.
Mission gardens.
Mission gardens.
Interior of the mission chapel.
Interior of the mission chapel.

When visiting Mission San José, be sure to visit the many other attractions in Silicon Valley!