Photograph (by A.B. Dodge?) of a drawing of the ruins of Mission Nuestra Senora de la Soledad (Our Lady of Solitude), by Henry Chapman Ford, ca.1883. Parts of the roof and walls of the arcade have collapsed. A shepherd allows his sheep to graze the fields in front of the mission.; "Henry C. Ford was best known for his paintings of the entire chain of twenty-one California missions. He was born in Livonia, New York in 1828, but he pursued his studies in Paris and Florence during the late 1850's. He was a Civil War illustrator and veteran, and as soon as he was discharged from service, he settled in Chicago, Illinois. In Chicago, Ford became an accomplished landscapist, and was one of the founders of the Chicago Academy of Design in 1873. The studio that Ford kept in Chicago burned down in 1871. Due to his failing health, Ford moved to a milder climate, settling in Santa Barbara, California. In the summers of 1880 and 1881, he traveled by horse and buggy to each mission site south of Santa Barbara. On the mission grounds, Ford made pencil drawings and painted sketches. He was the first artist to make a set of mission images in two media, oil and etching. He went to New York to turn his renditions into etchings, which were inexpensive and could be easily duplicated. In 1893, he exhibited his mission etchings at the Chicago World's Fair. Later in his life, Ford taught and continued to paint from his Santa Barbara home. He died in 1894, leaving behind the important historical contribution of his California mission paintings." -- unknown author.; "Dubbed the "Thirteenth Mission", Nuestra Señora de la Soledad was founded on October 9, 1791 by Father Fermin Lasuen. The name of this mission tells a lot about it. Father Lasuen dedicated the site to "the Solitude of Most Holy Mary, Our Lady". It was a dry, windy plain that was very hot in the summer and freezing cold on winter nights. It was through the missionaries' irrigation of the Salinas River that the area was transformed to allow the growth of crops and livestock herding by the missionaries. Due to the inhospitable climate and land, there were very few Native Americans living in the area. Hence building and conversions were slow. It was six years before a large church was finally built. And since the desolate plain offered no protection against the floods of the Salinas River, the church was twice destroyed by the overflowing riverbanks. During a reconstruction in 1832 a third flood hit that was latter seen as the beginning of the end for the Mission Soledad. In spite of all the difficulties, the mission did prosper. Eventually the padres performed more than 2,000 baptisms and 700 marriages. The crops were bountiful and large herds of horses, cattle and sheep grazed the plains. After secularization the mission site was soon abandoned and left to decay for over one hundred years. Finally, in 1954, the Native Daughters of the Golden West began restoring what little was left of the Mission Soledad." -- unknown author.