Padre Miguel Venegas created this map from compiled Jesuit documents. The northern half of the map is shown here, and includes six mission sites. Three are known and three may be lost? The second frame has the six missions marked.
Near the top is a waterhole called ‘Aguaje de Santa Isabel’ (between Bahia San Luis Gonzaga and Punta San Fermin). ‘Santa Isabel’ is also the name of another lost mission believed to be in this part of Baja, a popular Baja legend.
Jesuit Missions (3 established, 3 ‘started’)
South to north, Established: Santa Rosalia de Mulegé, Guadalupe, San Ignacio.
‘Started’: San Juan Bautista, Dolores del Norte, Santa Maria Magdalena.
Full Map, two zoom levels: https://vivabaja.com/maps/1757-02/
San Juan Bautista was believed to be located in the Sierra Santa Clara, west of San Ignacio and north of Punta Abreojos. Sometimes called the Lost Santa Clara mission, no ruins have been officially discovered.
Dolores del Norte (north of San Ignacio) was indeed an early name for the next mission, which became Santa Gertrudis. Some maps and INAH show a separate mission of Dolores del Norte at the adobe visita ruins of San Pablo. The villagers at San Francisco de la Sierra told Choral Pepper (in 1964) that the old rock walls there were from Misión Dolores (see photo, next page). Perhaps an early site, before being moved north and renamed.
Santa Maria Magdalena is shown between Dolores del Norte and Bahia de los Angeles. In 1966, Erle Stanley Gardner’s expedition south of L.A. Bay discovered an ancient wall, rubble outline of a building site, Indian sleeping circles, a young palm tree and old palm logs (photos on next page). The Jesuits may have abandoned this mission project soon after the construction had begun. A bell cast for Santa Maria Magdalena now hangs at Santa Gertrudis, the nearest established mission. The location of ruins found in 1966 remains unknown to this day, but the search continues! PHOTOS:
Erle Stanley Gardner and Choral Pepper
Two people who loved exploring Baja and wrote many books and articles about the mysteries of Baja’s history and legends.
Walls of Dolores ???
At San Francisco de la Sierra. Photo by Choral Pepper.
San Francisco de la Sierra, in 1964.
Note extensive walls dating from the Spanish mission era.
Santa Maria Magdalena, a proposed mission site found?
Part of the ancient wall leading up from the (now) dry spring. Palm logs and a date palm seedling indicated a previous supply of water and a planted grove. Photos from the July, 1966 DESERT MAGAZINE article by Choral Pepper.
The wall leads up to a mesa where rock ruins, native sleeping circles, discarded clam shells were found.
I personally interviewed three people who were there, with Gardner. None could provide exact directions to the site, somewhere between Las Flores and El Barril.
Choral Pepper, in 2001
The love of Baja never escaped from Choral, and she knew I would continue searching for her lost ‘Santa Maria Magdalena’. Choral passed away the year after this photo was taken.
David K’s search for Santa Maria Magdalena (Photos):
Thanks for Visiting: ‘1757 Lost Mission Map page’
- Choral Pepper Photo Collection
- David K’s VivaBaja.com Web Site
- Baja Message Boards
- Finding El Camino Real in Baja
- Fast Index to Baja Photos and Pages