The Asistencia

This painting of the Asistencia by Anneli Pendley will be part of the auction at the Redlands Conservancy’s annual social. Pendley chairs the event this year.

On Saturday, Oct. 5, guests will gather at the beautiful and historic Asistencia on Barton Road in Redlands to enjoy twilight at the Asistencia, Redlands Conservancy’s 2019 Annual Social.

This will be the first major public event at the site in many years, and Social Chairwoman Anneli Pendley promises it will be a spectacular evening.

According to the conservancy, the event will spirit guests back to the days of early California as they leisurely saunter around the gracious courtyard, sipping the signature cocktail as the afternoon slips out and the evening settles in.

Under the sparkling lights guests will be able to tour the historic buildings where docents will provide a few words of the history, shop at the silent auction, select their favorite opportunity basket, peruse the three live auction offerings, and enjoy live music before they are seated for a dinner especially prepared to reflect the site’s Spanish heritage.  

Redlands Conservancy received title to the Asistencia in November 2018 as San Bernardino County Museum deeded the site with the intent that it be permanently preserved.  

The seven-member Asistencia team  has developed short- and long-term plans that will make the site self-sustaining and open for public enjoyment, serving the Redlands area once again.

The Annual Social is Redlands Conservancy’s major fund-raising event for the year. Redlands Public Market will partially underwrite the event, which is also supported by Hub Insurance and Hatfield Buick.  Underwriting is still being accepted, and will be recognized with preferred seating and other amenities. Underwriting is available starting at $250 per guest.  

While never an official mission within the California mission system of the 18th and 19th centuries, the Asistencia has been a significant part of the region’s history, starting with the construction of a San Gabriel Mission outpost, known as an estancia, in 1819 on a site a mile or so west of the site.  

Construction on the current site was started around 1830 with the intent of creating a larger complex of buildings. With secularization of the mission system in 1834, the site was abandoned.  

By 1842, the Mexican government had given most of the west San Bernardino Valley to the Lugo family who lived at the abandoned buildings. In 1851, the Lugos sold the site and a huge chunk of land to the Mormon Church, which used it for an outpost and tithing center until they were called back to Salt Lake City in 1857, at which time, Dr. Ben Barton from San Bernardino bought the site and land. His family lived in the deteriorating adobe buildings until the Barton Villa was finished in 1867. Then the buildings turned into cattle sheds and storage barns and mostly returned to the earth.  

Enthusiasts worked to get the site re-constructed in the 1930s when the Works Progress Administration took over and created the adobe bricks and roof tiles on site, as was done in the 1830s.  

In addition to celebrating the Asistencia, the 2019 Annual Social will celebrate Redlands Conservancy’s 25th anniversary.  Since 1994, the conservancy has served the Redlands area by preserving Redlands’ historic built environment and irreplaceable agricultural and natural environments.

Reservations open Wednesday

Early-bird reservations for the Annual Social are available at $110 per guest, $100 per member at  redlandsconservancy.eventbrite.com, beginning as soon as Wednesday, Aug. 28. To become a member and receive the member code, people can visit redlandsconservancy.org under the How to Help menu item.