, Research Paper
I’ve been down to the Mission of San Xavier del Bac on numerous occasions and never really look at it as I did for this paper. Understanding how it was built back in the late 1700’s by raw brute strength and manpower. Just trying to visualize people working in harsh conditions in the unmerciful desert sun to complete this magnificent structure, that sits glistening in the Arizona sun. The combination of structural splendor, a setting of saguaro-studded desert surrounded by mountains and complex history makes for an enchanting work of art and culture.
Now for a brief history of the origins of the mission, Father Kino a Spanish priest spreading the word of God in a new land in 1692, gets the credit for establishing the mission in the late 1600’s, but the present Mission wasn’t built until between 1776 and 1797. San Xavier is an example of late-period Spanish Baroque. Stark, bare side walls contrasting sharply with an elaborate and intricately ornate entrance characterizes the style. San Xavier is considered to be one of the fine examples of this style. The mission is a simple and picturesque interpretation of Spanish architecture combined with undeniably native influences. The mission churches were usually constructed with whatever limited materials were on hand, in the case of San Xavier mission, fired brick, local volcanic rock, plaster, and timber were used. The result is a stunning display of the Old World meeting the New. San Xavier remains an impressive mixture of architecture, sculpture and history. In the early to mid 1800’s the church began to deteriorate. When the California gold rush began, a large number of people came upon the church on their trek to California. Most visitors wrote their names on the walls inside.
As I stopped to look at the church, I could see how despite the effort of those who cherish this marvel of ancient man are fighting an never ending a battle against time and the elements. Standing there at the main doors soaking up the ambiance of the church. I could see how the weather was deteriorating the columns to the point that whatever design they were was becoming totally unrecognizable. Two of the statues that represent either Saints or some of the Monks that were responsible for the construction seemed to have lost their heads for some reason, maybe vandals or by time. As I continued my walk around of the outer grounds I could see the marks left by 21-century man (gang sign). What a shame that someone could show such disrespect to this ancient structure and house of god. For some reason that eludes me every site that I have visited you see the same thing it seems that modern man just has to deface something to show that he was there regardless of the period of time.