The Church of the Immaculate Conception

Nestled in the heart of historic Old Town San Diego lies a true gem of California’s rich religious history – the Immaculate Conception Church. For over 250 years, this church has stood as a testament to the unwavering faith and devotion of the people who have called it home.

It was here, in 1769, that Saint Junípero Serra, the pioneering Franciscan friar, celebrated his First Holy Mass in California, just steps away from the site of the present Immaculate Conception Church. As he stood atop the hill overlooking Old Town, he planted a cross to mark the location of the Mission and the Presidio, a symbol of hope and perseverance that endures to this day.

Over the years, the church has seen its fair share of trials and tribulations. Despite setbacks such as a devastating fire and a lack of funding, the parishioners persevered, and the church was finally completed and dedicated in 1919. And even in recent times, the church has undergone seismic retrofits to ensure it remains a stalwart presence in the community for generations to come.

Today, Immaculate Conception Church welcomes over 300 families from all over the San Diego region and beyond. Its stunning architecture, rich history, and vibrant community make it a must-visit destination for any traveler seeking a deeper connection with California’s past and present. Whether you come to worship, admire the breathtaking beauty of the church, or simply soak up the peaceful atmosphere, a visit to the Immaculate Conception Church is sure to leave a lasting impression on your heart and soul.

History of the Church

The church’s original adobe structure was built in 1851 by Reverend John C. Holbein, who was the first pastor of the parish. At that time, masses were held in the homes of Old Town residents, and the need for a dedicated church building was becoming increasingly urgent. The construction of the adobe church was a true labor of love, as it was built entirely by hand using traditional techniques and materials such as adobe bricks and wooden beams.

Despite its humble origins, the adobe church quickly became a cherished gathering place for the community, serving as a spiritual sanctuary for all who entered its doors. Over time, as the population of San Diego grew and the church’s popularity increased, it became clear that a larger and more permanent structure was needed.

In 1868, under the direction of Father Antonio Ubach, construction on the present-day Immaculate Conception Church began. The cornerstone was laid, and work proceeded slowly but steadily over the next several decades. Unfortunately, progress was hampered by a number of setbacks, including a lack of funding and the devastating fire that swept through Old Town in 1872.

Despite these challenges, the community rallied around the project, and construction continued at a steady pace. In July of 1917, over 50 years after the original adobe church was built, the new Immaculate Conception Church was finally completed, and masses began to be celebrated within its hallowed walls.

Today, the church stands as a testament to the dedication and perseverance of its builders and the enduring faith of its community. Its stunning architecture and rich history make it a beloved landmark in Old Town San Diego and a cherished gathering place for all who seek spiritual nourishment and solace.

Phone – (619) 295 4141

Address – 2540 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110