On Barton Road, almost at the western end of Redlands, a small sign says Mission Asistencia, Historic Landmark No. 42. It sits beside the white steeple and the site of six historic buildings that look remarkably like a traditional California mission.
This is not the only sign that pointed to these buildings. At one point a neon sign reading ‘Wedding Chapel’ adorned the front of the site and elders remember the site as the area’s main venue for weddings, quickies and the like.
In today’s world, this same site is not a support mission, but it still holds weddings. What is known today as Asistencia is now the headquarters and headquarters of Redlands Conservancy, a Redlands non-profit organization that focuses on the preservation of Redlands historic built environment and natural environments and irreplaceable agriculture.
Since 2018, when the reserve was given the site of the San Bernardino County Museum, the group has restored portions of the buildings and opened the site for concerts and special events in addition to organizational meetings, interpretive programs and activities.
Passersby pass by frequently when volunteers or Executive Director Heather Ross are there to tell their stories about Asistencia. They’ve been to a wedding there, they’ve had their own wedding there, they’ve attended a christening there, or they’ve been among the 400 guests of the Redlands Bowl Performing Arts group that held its annual gala there many years ago. .
As landowners and a heritage-focused group in Redlands, conservation wants to hear people’s stories about Asistencia. According to Redlands Conservancy executive director Sherli Leonard, documenting the stories will help the organization fill in missing details about the site’s history from its construction in the 1930s to its ownership by the county museum.
For many years, fourth-grade students from the Redlands Unified School District came to Asistencia each year as they studied California and the state’s mission history. There are maybe some stories of this program.
Retirement parties, wedding anniversaries, concerts, club meetings, weddings and wedding receptions – the reserve wants all the stories, including the stories of people who worked there at some point.
Send us your stories
Stories can be emailed to [email protected], or printed and sent to Redlands Conservancy, 26930 Barton Road, Redlands 92373. The conservation will collect the stories and put them together in a binder. New information on the history of the site will be incorporated into the official history of Asistencia, which is currently being compiled.