California Mission Bell Towers

The bell towers are perhaps the most beautiful and remarkable features of the missions in California. The bells were rung at mealtimes, to call residents to work and worship, during special events such as births and funerals, to signal the approach of a ship, or to sound an alarm. This tradition probably began with the ringing of a single bell by Father Junípero Serra, but the presence of bells in each mission soon memorialized this custom.

Below are some examples of bell towers from San Diego de Alcala Mission, Santa Barbara Mission, and San Miguel Arcangel Mission. Photos courtesy of Anupama Mande and Khédija Gadhoum.