When we were presented with an opportunity to participate in the 2012 HALS Challenge documenting latino landscapes, we were enthusiastic to say the least. An on going project in the office is the Saint Raphael Plaza at the Mission San Rafael, and the HALS report was a perfect opportunity to dig deeper and understand the history of the site while ensuring its documentation with the other California missions.
As a native Californian I was required in the fourth grade to do a mission report complete with model (this and lego may have introduced me to my love of model making). This was an opportunity to relive that research, slightly more in depth this time, and have it contribute to a great cause: HALS, like HABS with buildings, strives to document the quintessential cultural landscapes of America before they are irrevocably altered or destroyed. And while I did not get to build my sugar cube or styrofoam/spray painted mission, I did find some really neat images of San Rafael of yore. One of the more interesting tidbits I learned was the current mission is a replica built in 1949 by the Hearst Foundation, the original having been destroyed in the mid-Nineteenth Century.
For more information on HALS (the 2013 Challenge has been announced) check out HALS Challenge link. The reports from the whole California mission effor can be found at the Northern California HALS Chapter website.