My daughter, Lynne, and I travel northward on Highway 101, El Camino Real, to pick up the Estero Bay News in King City every other week. The drive gives us an opportunity to enjoy the California landscape along the way.
On our journey we pass the mission bells placed at intervals on both sides of the freeway northward. When were the bells placed along the highway, and why, has intrigued me on these trips?
A little research produced the information I wanted to know to wit. The 15- foot cast iron bells were placed one to two miles apart along both sides of the highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco in the year 2004. They were placed at intervals to mark the Mission Trail.
The idea to create a Mission Trail with the bells began with Anna Pitcher in 1892. Mrs. A.S.C. Forbes, a member of the California Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1905 did the follow up.
In 2009, new Mission bells replaced the original bells along the freeway.
Today the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) takes care of the bells maintaining their position and structure.