QUIZ – What Lies Beneath (First Easter Services in California)

The answer is posted after the jump! :)

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Hint: this week’s What Lies Beneath is holiday-themed!

Just to refresh your memory, here’s how this little game goes… we’ll show you a spot on a google map (see below). We’re thinking of a reason this location is notable. Within 24 hours we’ll give you the full details… but as always, we’re going to give you a fair amount of time to guess what we’re referring to first. We encourage you not to cheat by googling the address and if you know the answer right away please try not to announce it too quickly and ruin the game for the people who don’t.

Here it is!


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Here’s the answer! Be sure to scroll down and check out the details on the awesome photos and their descriptions at the bottom of this post! :)

coIf you take a little walk around the trees at 430 Arroyo Drive in South Pas, across from the baseball field, you’ll notice a modest stone monument with a cross. According to debated legend, the Cathedral Oak Monument marks the exact spot where the very first Easter services were held in California back in 1770.

“On February 20, 1769, in Mexico City, Galvez gave specific instructions to Serra and Don Gaspar de Portola, the military commander of the new expedition to Upper California. They were supposed to establish a port and a mission in San Diego. Afterwards, they were to move their expedition towards Monterey. After establishing San Diego in the same year, Portola and Serra turned their eyes towards Monterey. They planned two expeditions, one by land and one by sea, which would depart separately and meet in the Bay of Monterey. Here they were to establish a port, a mission, and a presidio (fort).

“April 15, 1770 was a windy Easter Sunday. Early that morning, the vessel San Antonio left San Diego for Monterey, leading the sea expedition. The crew, together with Father Serra, said farewell to San Diego, but a few hours later they were back on land. Strong winds had brought the ship and her crew back to the shores of the newly established port on the Pacific Ocean. Father Serra, as Padre Presidente of the expedition, saw it as an act of God. Gratefully he gave thanks to the Sister Wind, seeing the currents as heavenly signs and as an indication to remain on the ground and celebrate Easter Sunday, before they started such a long journey toward Monterey. Like Father Serra, the captain, Juan Perez, was born in Mallorca, Spain. While, he and Portola did not share the enthusiasm of Serra in regards to their Easter Sunday, no one, not even his beloved ship, could stand the strong winds.” SOURCE

According to the legend, as they were far from any formal place of worship, a large beautiful oak tree that existed on this site in South Pasadena was chosen to serve as a makeshift church and a large cross was carved in its trunk for the occasion. So, the very first Easter Sunday service ever celebrated in California is said to have been performed on this very spot. The Oneonta Park Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution marked the oak with a plaque in 1932, and after the tree died of old age and fell in 1952 the Daughters returned to the scene to dedicate a monument of the tree (a photograph of that ceremony can be seen below).

CLICK ON IMAGES FOR LARGER VIEWS
PHOTO 1 PHOTO 2 PHOTO 3








PHOTO 1 DESCRIPTION: “Portola’s Cross on a Cathedral Oak tree in South Pasadena, ca.1890. Photograph of Portola’s Cross on a Cathedral Oak tree in South Pasadena, ca.1890. The lower portion of a tree trunk shedding its bark in small portions is pictured. Smaller foliage surrounds it.” ©USC Digital Library

PHOTO 2 DESCRIPTION: “Photograph of a Cathedral Oak tree in South Pasadena, 1915-1925. A man stands in front of a tall oak tree at least five times his height, his feet spread wide apart, his hand in his pocket. He wears a hat. The field grass comes up to his knees. Photoprint reads “Partola’s Cross Oak. Camping place of Partola who cut a cross.” ©USC Digital Library

PHOTO 3
DESCRIPTION: “Monument committee members of the Oneonta Park Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, left to right are: Mrs. Albert Supple; Mrs. Frederick Haines; Mrs. Arthur L. Shellhorn and Mrs. Frederick A. Speick. The monument, an iron cross set in fieldstone was dedicated by the Daughters of the American Revolution with South Pasadena City Officials together with other civic organizations’ representatives attending. The services dedicating the historical marker at the site of the old ‘Cathedral Oak’ was in commemoration of the first outdoor Easter Services which were held on the bank of the Arroyo Seco. The monument is located in the 400 block of Arroyo Drive, South Pasadena.” ©USC Digital Library

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5 Responses to “QUIZ – What Lies Beneath (First Easter Services in California)”

  1. Donald says:

    Moms tamales

  2. Ash Dysart says:

    The Cathedral Oak of Don Gaspar de Portola :) How Easter appropriate.

  3. [...] I dig South Pas history. I really dig it. [...]

  4. Donna McCusker says:

    Time capsule or now that I think about it possibly some bark of the tree. Story was very interesting 1770 long time ago. I am native Californian 3rd generation and worked in Pasadena , and never saw this. .

  5. I am a huge fan of this website and I check it regularly. Keep up the great work!

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