"When it comes to local history, the last vote is never in. It is one of its chief charms and greatest challenges." - James D. Sleeper
Less than 24 hours after posting Part III, of this supposed three-part series, I received an email from Diane Mourgos, Director of the California Mission Museum in Sonoma. She wrote that her museum "houses models of all 21 missions, ...also built by Leon Bayard de Volo in the 1930s. I have heard mixed history about my set... The models I have on display were built for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition (GGIE) held at Treasure Island in San Francisco. There are 21 in total as well as a [wood and papier mâché] statue of Father Serra that were on display in the Mission Trails Building."
The museum opened in 2005 and also includes mission paintings by Robert Morris and Henry Nelson, period clothing replicas, Indian tools, and two large stained-glass panels that were at Mission Dolores (Mission San Francisco de Asís) prior to the 1906 earthquake. (See photo above.)
|Mission San Rafael at the California Mission Museum features working interior lights.|
|Missions on display, either at the 1939 Exposition or during the 1940s.|
After the fair, the missions were loaned to various Bay Area non-profit groups, schools, and other institutions, as a way to raise money. In August of 1946, they were on display for a week at O'Conner Moffatt & Co. Department Store, (now a Macy's), on Union Square in San Francisco. In May 1949, they were displayed at the Mission Dolores School Auditorium. They even wound up displayed in Sacramento for a time before being purchased by George K. Whitney, owner of the Cliff House and Sutro Baths, in 1956.
|Missions on display in the Bay Area, likely in the 1940s.|
|Fr. Serra and the Missions at the San Rafael Auction Gallery, March 1998|
Leon Bayard de Volo with some of his Mission models, likely in the 1940s.
(My thanks to Christopher Merritt, Dana Hundley, Ken Stack, and Diane Mourgos for their help with this serialized article.)