Showing posts with label Mutsun tribe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mutsun tribe. Show all posts

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Cross on Pagan Hill

Many years ago, when I was in third grade at Pacheco School, one of our assignments was to draw the landmarks in San Benito County. One was a cross on a hill, which I drew not paying attention to what Mrs. Apsley said it was all about and where it was. For many years I thought the cross was some where on Pacheco Pass. Even though I now know the landmark refers to the cross on top of Pagan Hill above San Juan Bautista, I still find myself scanning the mountains for a cross whenever I drive up Highway 156. Perhaps there is one up on Lover's Leap.

So, what about the cross? Pagan Hill, also known as Mount Holy Cross, was a sacred place for the Mutsun tribe. When the missionaries found that the natives went up to the spot to do their own religious practice, they, the friars, decided to erect a wooden cross as a way to convert the Mutsuns to Catholicism. This was around 1803. A farmer took down the cross about 50 years later. Flash forward about another 50 years when someone or some group put up at wooden cross in the same spot. In 1929, that was replaced with the concrete cross that we see today.

My Sources:
Mission San Juan Bautista by Historic American Landscapes Survey, National Park Service
California: A Guide to the Golden Golden State by Federal Writers' Project



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