SAN GABRIEL, Calif. - Priceless art and artifacts at the fire-ravaged San Gabriel Mission have been saved.
The blaze early Saturday destroyed the rooftop and most of the interior of San Gabriel Mission, which was undergoing renovation to mark its upcoming 250th anniversary celebration.
Among the items saved were the original Stations of the Cross donated by nearby Mission San Fernando following a massive earthquake.
“This is really the only good news to come out of this tragedy. It gives everyone a ray of hope in this time of darkness,” said California Missions Foundation Executive Director, David Bolton after visiting the Mission last weekend.
Bolton toured the fire-damaged property Monday morning and said most of the historic art and artifacts escaped the fire due to an unexpected coincidence by what could have been seen as “divine providence.”
Due to recent restoration work to repair moisture damage from the church walls, the art and artifacts had been removed to the nearby museum, and were scheduled to be returned to the church this week following the Covid closure.
However, not all mission treasures were saved. The fire caused major damage to a more than 200 year old altar and the 5 statues displayed on the altar reredos. The statues and altar were brought from Mexico in the early 1800’s and suffered major smoke and water damage.