Nixon painting in “plein” air at the lost mission, (Mission #23), the St. Eulalia Mission, (ca. 1834) that she discovered by accident while searching for a place to paint. This last mission was built after the Sonoma Mission as an “Assistencia” to the Sonoma Mission by Father Jose Altimira, and managed by Native American neophyte, Chief Solano, who grew up in the Sonoma Mission as a boy after his tribe was slaughtered by missionaries in Cordelia. The St. Eulalia Mission was “lost” for many years because pioneers built a winery and barns around it. The records of St. Eulalia were kept at the Dolores Mission in San Francisco so historians knew it existed but not sure where the remains were. After the old barns surrounding it were torn down at the Mangels Winery in the Rockville-Cordelia area, Nixon discovered it, surrounded by bulldozers poised to destroy it, and asked her historian friend why this adobe was there, underneath an old barn for so long. This lead to the last mission’s discovery, and started a new historical debate about which town has the last California Mission…Sonoma or Cordelia? This just goes to show that you never know what you may find when you go out plein air painting!

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