Photograph of the exterior view of San Miguel Mission in Santa Fe, New Mexico, ca.1875. It is regarded as the oldest church in the United States because it was built by Tlaxcalan Indians who came to New Mexico with the early Spanish conquistadors. The three-story mission is in dilapidated condition. The adobe walls are deteriorating, and the roof is almost non-existent. A fence, wall, and other building can be seen at left. Piles of dirt are visible in the foreground.; Picture file card reads: "Oldest church in U.S., built 1541, as it was up to 1872. The San Miguel bell was in the tower up to that year, as old photographs prove. The upper portion of the triple tower fell in 1872, but was rebuilt in 1888. The old church is built of large sun-dried bricks; the walls, which are covered with a layer of mud, both inside and outside, are from three to five feet thick."; "The Mission of San Miguel of Santa Fe is one of the country's oldest churches. It began in 1610, and although records of its early history were burned during the Rebellion of 1680, the thick, sturdy adobe walls remained unharmed. Stone buttresses later were added to strengthen the walls, remodeled tower and modern facade. A bell cast in Spain in 1356 is displayed in an anteroom. It was used in churches in Spain and Mexico before being brought to Santa Fe by oxcart in the early 19th century. Priceless ornaments and paintings adorn the interior of the mission." -- unknown author.